Banga soup is one of the staples of Nigerian cuisine, specifically the Niger Delta region. This recipe is centuries old and incorporates the products that every Nigerian is familiar with. That, along with the soup’s warm and comforting taste, made Banga soup as popular as it is nowadays.
Like with many Nigerian recipes, there are several versions of the Banga soup recipe known today. Many families prefer to cook it as a stew to serve with starch or white rice. Find out how to prepare Ofe Akwu, otherwise known as the Banga soup!
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1. Ingredients for Banga soup
The most important part of the Banga soup is the palm fruit – without this ingredient, this recipe would have looked very different. However, if you want to know how to make Ofe Akwu the right way, you’ll need a couple of other ingredients. Here is a full ingredient list:
- Palm fruit – 500 grams
- Fresh meat – 500 grams
- Crayfish – 1 cup
- Beef or chicken stock
- Scent leaves
- 2 onions
A couple of notes regarding the ingredients: you can use fresh palm fruit, but canned palm fruit pulp is way more convenient; in that case, you’ll need 400 grams of the fruit. Fresh meat for this recipe can be assorted: many Nigerian cooks combine beef with fish, adding any other meat they like. Seasoning includes salt and pepper plus your favorite spices, although you can use a stock cube.
2. How to cook Banga soup
Whether you’re going to make Ofe Akwu for the first time or simply want to refresh your memory on this legendary recipe, here is a step by step guide on how to make Banga soup.
- Add chopped beef, fish, and diced onions along with the seasoning to a hot pan with oil and cook until the beef is done.
- Take your palm fruit pulp, either fresh or canned, and start boiling at medium heat in a large pot.
- While the palm fruit is cooking, grind together the scent leaves, crayfish, and seasoning with a mortar.
- Watch the palm fruit as it boils: while making the soup, don’t allow the palm fruit become too thick, adding stock along the way to make it more watery.
- Once the palm fruit has reached the desired consistency, add the beef along with the stock, the crayfish with seasoning, and the scent leaves together.
- Simmer the soup for approximately five minutes or for as long as it takes to thicken the soup some more. Add salt, pepper, some more scent leaves, turn off the stove and serve!
3. How to make Ofe Akwu for rice
As you can see, the recipe for Banga soup couldn’t be easier – no wonder that it’s so popular with Nigerian families. However, there is one more way to include this dish into your daily menu – this time by serving it as a stew alongside some starch or white rice.
In order to be suitable for serving over rice, Ofe Akwu needs to be thick enough. The easiest way to ensure the necessary level of thickness is to not add the stock to the soup, letting it thicken on its own. That way you can get Banga soup as a stew without changing the original recipe too much.
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