Banga Soup is a popular Nigerian palm nut soup. It’s a Delta/Urhobo favourite but its preparation method varies from tribe to tribe.
For this soup, you can use the canned palm nut extract as it is much easier and cuts down cooking time. However, if you want to use fresh palm nut, you will need to wash the nuts properly, then boil until the nuts soften.
Transfer the nuts into a mortar and pound till the skin comes off and the colour becomes even. Thereafter, pour some hot water on the nuts while they are still in the mortar and mix thoroughly. Strain with a sieve or cloth to extract the palm oil and that’s it.
Other things you will need are:
Catfish or any preferred fresh fish
Fresh or smoked shrimps (Optional)
Ground crayfish or prawns
Crushed Obeletientien leaves or dried bitter leaves
Scotch bonnet (ata rodo)
Dried pepper (optional)
Clean and wash your fish thoroughly, especially if you’re using catfish as it can be slimy. Then, boil your meat if you’re using any. When the meat is tender, add the dried stockfish, smoked fish, blended scotch bonnet. Boil till the stockfish is tender and the meat/smoked fish soft.
Now, transfer your palm nut extract into a big pot. If you’re using the tinned extract, it comes really thick, dilute with hot water; the water should be almost double the quantity of the extract. You can also use the stock from the meats as well. Then, place on medium heat and mix properly.
Make sure you don’t cover the pot from now till the end of the cooking process.
Let this boil for 10 to 12 minutes.
Then add the Banga Spice, Oburunbebe stick, ground crayfish or prawns, dried pepper, seasoning cube and salt. You may not need too much salt if your stock is well seasoned so be mindful.
When adding Banga spice, start with a tablespoon and add more intermittently if needed as too much will make the Banga soup bitter. Leave to cook for five minutes, at this time, the soup would have thickened up a bit.
Now, add the catfish or your preferred fresh fish and fresh shrimps. This is also the time to add periwinkles if you’re using any. Reduce the heat and leave to cook for seven to 10 minutes. By this time, palm oil would have settled on the top. Decant some of the palm oil if you find it too oily.
Blend your bitter leaves or Obeletientien. Then, add inside the combination on fire. Stir properly, cook for two more minutes, then switch off the heat.
Leave to cook for further two to three minutes with the residual heat, and thereafter, remove the Oburunbebe stick.
Your banga soup is ready! Serve with pounded yam, eba, or starch.
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