Tuesday, 17 December 2013

African: Banga Soup

Banga soup is one soup that I don't particularly look forward to cooking because of the process of extracting the oil from the palm nuts. Yes I know there's the option of using canned palm-fruit oil sold in supermarkets but there's this part of me that likes cooking stuff from scratch if I can manage it.  Banga soup is native to the lovely folks of the south-south of Nigeria.  I'm from the South-South myself and learned how to cook this soup by watching my elder sister (she belongs to the palm-nut-oil-from-a-can camp).  The first time I ate this soup as a child was with starch but as an adult I don't think I can ever bring myself to eat that combo as the only place I want to see starch is in my washing and not on my dinning table!


1 big bunch of palm-nut fruit or 800g Palm-fruit cream concentrate

Goat meat/Beef/Fresh Fish/Assorted Meat (tripe)

Oburumbebe Stick

1 tablespoon of Banga Spice (rohojie and aidan ground together, you can buy this in the market)

Ground Crayfish

Ground Pepper

Small bunch of scent leaf or Obeleteintein leaves

Stock Fish

Dry Fish (optional)

Periwinkles (optional)


1.   If you decide to use the canned palm-fruit oil from the can just skip this step.  If you decide to do it the good ol' fashioned way then here goes..... in a good sized pot wash and put the palm-fruit in water and boil for say 20-30 minutes (till fruits are soft and easy to work with).  When cooked transfer to a mortar and pound the fruits gently (the goal is to loosen the husk from the fruit not crack the nut!). While your waiting for your palm fruit to cook if you've not boiled your meat you can start doing that, make sure you keep some stock water from the meat pot as you will need it when cooking the banga soup proper.

boil palm fruit till tender

put in a mortar and gently pound to remove husk

with gentle pounding it should look like this

transfer husk and all to a pot and pour warm water

pour water and husk through a strainer to get oil

The fruit of your labour should look like this

2.  Put the pot on the hob or stove and heat under medium flame till the red oil rises to the top (as pictured below). Pour half a cup of stock water into the pot of boiling oil and add ground pepper, crayfish,  snails, periwinkle, stockfish and stock cube and cook for 5 minutes.  After this, add the banga spice and taste to make sure you're fine with the intensity of the flavour!

Add your condiments...

I prefer putting my dry fish in whole and not broken into bits

Periwinkle and cowhide is optional (I cook nearly all soups with periwinkle-in-its-shell)

3.  Add the oburunbebe stick (it adds extra flavour to the soup, it can be removed, washed, kept in a clean place and used several times, to 'loosen' the stick to let more flavour out, i make deep marks on the stick before each use).

Ground banga spice and Oburunbebe stick

4.  Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes, open pot and add your sliced scent leaves or obeleteintein leaves, cover again and cook for another 5 minutes. You can remove the obunrunbebe stick at this point or let it it soak in the soup till you're ready to serve.

5.  Like I said earlier, people from the south-south love to eat their banga with starch but you can eat with any 'swallow' of your choice

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1 comment:

  1. My friend my friend... I love the detailed steps. Well done on pounding the palm fruit. Thats usually the hard part for me and i cheat with the canned ones. Yeps i know the taste is never the same so this is one soup i prepare mentally for when i want to do it the right way.
    I bet it tastes as delicious as it looks.



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