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banga soup

Banga Stew(Ofe Akwu)

The Nigerian Banga Soup or Ofe
Akwu is native to the Niger Delta
and the South Eastern parts of
Nigeria. In the Niger Delta areas,
Banga soup is commonly eaten
with various foo foo recipes –
Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri
and Cassava Foo Foo. In the
South Eastern parts of Nigeria,
Banga Soup is referred to as Ofe
Akwu where Ofe means Soup /
Stew and Akwu means palm fruit
and is used mainly as stew for
theWhite Rice recipe.
The palm fruit oil extract used in
cooking Banga Soup / Stew is
quite different from the Palm Oil
used in cooking Nigerian food
recipes. Palm Oil is pure oil
extracted from the palm fruit
pulp at high temperatures while
the palm fruit oil extract used
for the Banga Soup is extracted
at a very low temperature and is
a mixture of oil and water. Palm
fruit oil extracted for Banga
Soup contains less saturated fat
than palm oils.
Ingredients for Banga Soup
Palm Fruits – 1 kg
Dry Fish
Vegetable – Scent Leaves
Onions – 2 medium bulbs
Crayfish – A handful | 2
tablespoons of ground
Salt and Chilli Pepper – to
Seasoning – 3 Maggi / Knorr
Before you cook the Nigerian
Banga Soup
1. Wash and cook the palm
fruits till done. A good sign
that the palm fruit is done
is that you will notice
cracks on the flesh of the
fruits. The palm fruit is
also soft to the bite.
2. Pound the palm fruits in a
mortar with a pestle till all
the flesh are separated
from the nut to form a
smooth pulp as shown in
the photo.
3. Cook the beef and the dry
fish with 1 bulb of diced
onion and the 3 Maggi /
Knorr cubes till done.
4. While you have the beef
cooking, extract the palm
fruit oil from the palm
fruit pulp by washing it in
warm water. Small
quantities of the palm
fruit pulp should be
washed in as small
quantity of warm water as
possible. If the palm fruit
oil starts getting too thick,
pour the liquid into another
container through a sieve
to prevent the palm fruit
fibres from entering into
the oil that will be used in
cooking the Banga Soup.
Repeat this till all the palm
fruit pulp has been
A more efficient
extraction process
can be achieved by
separating the palm
nuts from the pulp
before washing the
pulp in warm water.
During the
extraction process,
if you think that
there is still some oil
on previously
washed palm fruit
pulp; re-wash these
when you change
the water before
washing new palm
fruit pulp.
Water should be
used sparingly
during the
extraction process
so that at the end,
the extracted liquid
will have the
consistency of
evaporated milk or
tomato juice bearing
in mind that you still
have to add the
beef stock.
5. Leave the extracted palm
fruit oil to stand for some
time then slowly pour this
into the pot that will be
used to cook the Banga
Soup / Stew, taking care
not to pour the tiny pieces
of fibre that have settled
at the bottom.
6. Wash and cut the scent
leaves into tiny pieces. The
scent leaves are what
gives the Banga Soup its
unique aroma and taste. If
you are outside Nigeria,
this may be hard to find,
so you can use pumpkin
leaves or any other
vegetable in place of scent
7. Cut the remaining bulb of
onion, grind the crayfish
and pepper and set aside.
Cooking Directions
1. Set the pot of palm fruit
oil on the stove and start
cooking at high heat. Leave
to boil till you notice come
clear oil at the surface of
the Banga Stew. If you
think that the Banga Soup
is watery, cook till the
soup has thickened to the
consistency you like for
your stews.
2. Now, add the beef, dry fish
and stock, the onions,
crayfish and pepper and
cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the scent leaves and
salt to taste. Leave to
cook for 2 mins. The Banga
Soup is done. Serve with
White Rice or use the
Banga Soup to eat Garri,
Semolina, Amala or
Pounded Yam.

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