Weekend recipe: Banga soup or Ofe Akwu
By Patricia Uyeh
Banga Soup or Ofe Akwu is native to people of Niger Delta and the South Eastern region of Nigeria.
It’s commonly eaten with Starch, Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri, Cassava Fufu and rice.
Ingredients for Banga Soup:
-1 kg Palm fruit or 800g tinned Palm Fruit Concentrate
-Vegetable: Scent leaves for Ofe Akwu or dried and crushed bitterleaves for Delta-style Banga Soup
-2 medium onions
-2 tablespoons ground crayfish
-Salt and Chilli Pepper (to taste)
-Ogiri Okpei (Iru)1-2 big stock cubes
Start with extracting the palm fruit concentrate from the palm fruit.
Cook the beef and the dry fish with 1 bulb of diced onion and the stock cubes till done.
Wash and cut the scent leaves into tiny pieces. The scent leaves give the Banga Stew (Ofe Akwu) 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 leaves.
If cooking Delta-style Banga Soup for starch, you should either cook this soup without vegetables or use dried and crushed bitter leaves.
Cut the remaining bulb of onion. Pound the crayfish, ogiri okpei and pepper in a mortar and set aside. You can also grind them with a dry mill.
Set the pot of palm fruit extract on the stove and start cooking at high heat.
Leave to boil till you notice come red 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.
Now, add the beef, dry fish and stock, the onions, crayfish and pepper and leave to boil very well. Add the scent leaves or other vegetable and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins.
The Banga Soup is done. Serve with white rice or go, Delta-style and eat with Starch, Garri, semolina, Amala or pounded yam.
Photo credit : Instagram @9ja-foodie