7 Best Banga Soup Recipes – Ingredients and Varieties You’ll Love

Banga soup is a popular African delicacy usually prepared by extracting juice from oil palm fruits (locally known as Banga). The juice extraction is traditionally done by cooking the fruits until they are soft and then pounding them to separate the pulp. The juice is then extracted from the pulp.

Although it originates from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Banga soup is so loved that it is now enjoyed by other tribes in Nigeria, as well as other African countries, including Cameroon and Ghana, where it is called “Mbanga” and “Abe Nkwan” respectively.

As the dish was being adopted in other Nigerian tribes and African countries, the original Niger Delta Banga soup recipe was often altered or adjusted to suit individual tribal preferences. Now, many other tribes have their version of Banga soup, which they prepare in different unique, and fascinating ways. For instance, the Efik/Ibibios have their version of Banga soup called “Abak Atama,” while the Yorubas version is called “obe eyin ikpogiri.”

In Nigeria alone, there are more than 10 Banga soup recipes, but in this article, I will only share the best 7 Banga soup recipes you are sure to love. So now, let us start with the first on the list: The Delta Banga soup recipe.

Delta Banga Soup Recipe

As I said earlier, Banga soup originates from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It is traditionally prepared and served in clay, native pots called “evwere,” which must be treated before use.

Here is how to treat your native pot:

  1. Pour some water into the pot and let it boil on low heat, then empty the pot and boil another water. Repeat this process 3-5 times, and your native pot is ready for use.
  2. Another way to treat your native pot is to heat it on low heat for a few minutes and allow it to get hot, then rub some palm oil in it, and it is ready for use.

Thankfully, already-treated native pots are being sold in many markets across Nigeria, so you don’t have to start treating them yourself.

All the Banga soup recipes here are not difficult to make once your ingredients are ready. However, the availability of some of the ingredients depends on your location. For example, you may not be able to get obeletientien leaves if you are outside Nigeria, but you can substitute them with bitter leaves.

Also, it is both time and energy-consuming if you are to obtain the palm fruit extract the traditional way, where the palm fruits are boiled in water for some minutes and then pounded in a wooden mortar, after which the juice is manually extracted.

For a less stressful Banga soup, canned palm fruit extract are available in supermarkets for those that do not want to go through the stress of boiling and pounding palm fruits before extracting the juice.

In these recipes, I will show you how to extract palm fruit juice (for those who want to extract it manually). But if you would rather use the store-bought palm fruit extract, it works well too.

7 Best Banga Soup Recipes – Ingredients and Varieties You’ll Love

Recipe by Bourbon OCourse: FOOD
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal

Ingredients

    Directions

      Urhobo Banga Soup Recipe

      Banga soup is called “Oghwo Amiedi” in the Urhobo language.

      Ingredients

      • 1 big can of palm fruit extract or 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice
      • 2 tsp of Banga spice
      • 1kg of assorted meat
      • 1 medium size of catfish or any preferred fresh fish (cut into chunks)
      • 1 stick of Oburunbebe (Banga stick)
      • 2 tbsp of dried Obeletientien leaves or bitter leaf (crushed)
      • 2 tbsp of ground crayfish
      • 2 tsp of chili pepper
      • 1 tsp of Cameroun pepper
      • 3-4 medium pieces of stockfish
      • 2-3 medium pieces of dried fish
      • 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
      • 2 seasoning cubes
      • Salt to taste

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Gut your fish and wash thoroughly with clean water. Ensure that you wash your catfish with salt, as it is naturally slimy, so you’ll have to scrub with salt to remove the slime. Wash your assorted meat, also.
      2. Then put your meat in a pot and add 2-3 cups of water (enough to cook the meat), chopped onions, seasoning cubes, and a little salt. Allow it to cook on medium heat until it is tender.

      Remember to cook the tougher meats for longer if you use different meat cuts. Add the stock fish when your meat is tender, and continue to cook until both meat and fish are fully cooked. Remove the pot from the stove when the meat is cooked, then add your dried fish and simmer with residual heat.

      1. In another pot, pour your palm fruit extract (if you are using store-bought extract, dilute with your meat stock or water because it always comes thick) and start cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
      2. Add your oburunbebe stick, pepper, Banga spice (add just a little of the spice and taste before adding more, as too much of it will make the soup bitter), ground crayfish, stock fish, dried fish, seasoning cubes and salt to taste. Then add your already cooked meat and bring the soup to a boil.
      3. Add your catfish or your preferred fresh fish and reduce the heat to low, then allow your soup to cook for about 7 minutes or until palm oil settles on top.
      4. Add your crushed obeletientien leaves or bitter leaves, then stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, then remove the oburunbebe stick from the soup. Wash the stick thoroughly with water; dry it and keep it for later use.
      5. Serve your Banga soup and starch in your native clay pot or your preferred soup bowl, you can also enjoy it with fufu, or any swallow of your choice.

      Calabar Banga Soup Recipe

      Banga soup is known as “Abak Atama” in Cross River state. “Abak” is their translation of palm fruit extract, while “Atama” is a vegetable known as Obeletientien in Delta state.

      Ingredients

      • 1 big can of palm fruit extract or 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice
      • 2 tsp of Banga spice
      • 1 medium size catfish (cut into chunks)
      • 1kg beef (cut into pieces)
      • 1 stick of oburunbebe (Banga stick)
      • 2 tbsp of dried atama/obeletientien leaves (crushed)
      • 2 tbsp of ground crayfish
      • 2 tsp of chili pepper
      • 1 tsp of Cameroun pepper
      • 3-4 medium pieces of stockfish
      • 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
      • 2 seasoning cubes
      • Salt to taste

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Gut your fish and wash thoroughly with clean water. Ensure that you wash your catfish with salt, as it is naturally slimy, so you’ll have to scrub with salt to remove the slime. Wash your assorted meat, also.
      2. Then put your meat in a pot and add 2-3 cups of water (enough to cook the meat), chopped onions, seasoning cubes, and a little salt. Allow it to cook on medium heat until it is tender.

      Remember to cook the tougher meats for longer if you use different meat cuts. Add the stock fish when your meat is tender, and continue to cook until both meat and fish are fully cooked. Remove the pot from the stove when the meat is cooked, then add your dried fish and simmer with residual heat.

      1. In another pot, pour your palm fruit extract (if you are using store-bought extract, dilute with your meat stock or water because it always comes thick) and start cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
      2. Add your oburunbebe stick, pepper, Banga spice (add just a little of the spice and taste before adding more, as too much of it will make the soup bitter), ground crayfish, stock fish, dried fish, seasoning cubes and salt to taste. Then add your already cooked meat and bring the soup to a boil.
      3. Add your catfish or your preferred fresh fish and reduce the heat to low, then allow your soup to cook for about 7 minutes or until palm oil settles on top.
      4. Add your crushed obeletientien leaves or bitter leaves, then stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, then remove the oburunbebe stick from the soup. Wash the stick thoroughly with water; dry it and keep it for later use.
      5. Serve your Banga soup in your native clay pot or your preferred soup bowl, and enjoy it with starch, fufu, or any swallow of your choice.

      Igbo Banga Soup Recipe

      Igbo Banga soup is known as Banga stew or “Ofe Akwu,” which means “palm nut soup.” This variation of Banga soup is native to the Igbo tribe in the southeastern part of Nigeria.

      Unlike the Niger-Delta Banga soup, which is usually paired with starch, Igbo Banga soup is traditionally served with boiled yam, plantain, or white rice. Still, you can enjoy it with starch, fufu, garri, or any swallow you choose.

      Ingredients

      • 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice or 1 big can of palm fruit extract
      • 1 kg of beef (cut into chunks)
      • 500g of smoked or fresh fish, preferably mackerel (cut into pieces)
      • 2 cups of sliced fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugwu)
      • 1 cup of sliced scent leaves
      • 200g of dried fish
      • ½ cup of ground crayfish
      • 1 small onion (chopped)
      • Ground pepper (as desired)
      • 2 or 3 small seasoning cubes
      • Salt to taste

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Clean your fish and beef thoroughly with clean water. Then put them in a pot and add 1-2 cups of water, chopped onions, 2 seasoning cubes, and a little salt.
      2. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, after which you remove the fish and allow the beef to continue cooking until it is tender. Remove the pot from the stove when the meat is cooked.
      3. In a pot, pour your palm fruit extract (whether the one you prepared by yourself or the canned, store-bought extract) and cook on medium heat. Then add your already cooked beef with the stock and bring it to a boil.
      4. Add dried fish and crayfish and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. Then add your ground pepper and more salt and seasoning to your taste. Stir to combine.
      5. Add the scent leaves and stir. Then add your smoked or fresh fish; fresh fish should be added towards the end, so it does not break into pieces in the stew.
      6. Add your fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugwu).
      7. Stir and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
      8. Serve and enjoy your Igbo Banga soup with white rice or any side dish of your choice.

      Goat Meat Banga Soup Recipe

      You can also cook your Banga soup with goat meat if you prefer it to beef, chicken, or turkey. All you need is goat meat and the other ingredients in this recipe, and you will have your goat meat Banga soup in no time.

      Ingredients

      • 1 big can of palm fruit extract or 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice
      • 2 tsp of Banga spice
      • 1 medium size catfish (cut into chunks)
      • 1kg of goat meat (cut into pieces)
      • 1 stick of oburunbebe (Banga stick, known as licorice)
      • 2 tbsp of dried obeletientien leaves (crushed)
      • 2 tbsp of ground crayfish
      • 2 tsp of chili pepper
      • 1 tsp of Cameroun pepper
      • 3-4 medium pieces of stockfish
      • 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
      • 2 seasoning cubes
      • Salt to taste

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Gut your fish and wash thoroughly with clean water. Ensure that you wash your catfish with salt, as it is naturally slimy, so you’ll have to scrub with salt to remove the slime. Wash your goat meat, also.
      2. Then put your goat meat in a pot and add 2-3 cups of water (enough to cook the meat), chopped onions, seasoning cubes, and a little salt.
      3. Allow it to cook on medium heat until it is tender. Goat meat is tough, so it will take extra time to cook. Avoid hastening the cooking process by turning up the heat, which will toughen your meat and make it dry and stringy.
      4. Add the stockfish when your meat is tender, and continue to cook until both meat and fish are fully cooked. Remove the pot from the stove when the meat is cooked, then add your dried fish and simmer with residual heat.
      5. In another pot, pour your palm fruit extract (if you are using store-bought extract, dilute with your meat stock or water because it always comes thick) and start cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
      6. Add your oburunbebe stick, pepper, Banga spice (add just a little of the spice and taste before adding more, as too much of it will make the soup bitter), ground crayfish, stock fish, dried fish, seasoning cubes and salt to taste. Then add your already cooked meat and bring the soup to a boil.
      7. Add your catfish or your preferred fresh fish and reduce the heat to low, then allow your soup to cook for about 7 minutes or until palm oil settles on top.
      8. Add your crushed obeletientien leaves or bitter leaves, then stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, then remove the oburunbebe stick from the soup. Wash the stick thoroughly with water; dry it and keep it for later use.
      9. Serve your Banga soup in your native clay pot or your preferred soup bowl, and enjoy it with starch, fufu, or any swallow of your choice.

      Chicken and Turkey Banga Soup Recipe

      Many people love the taste of chicken and turkey in their Banga soup, although they can choose to add fresh fish.

      Ingredients

      • 1 big can of palm fruit extract or 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice
      • 2 tsp of Banga spice
      • 1 medium size catfish (cut into chunks)
      • 1kg of chicken (cut into pieces)
      • 1kg of turkey (cut into chunks)
      • 1 stick of oburunbebe (Banga stick, known as licorice)
      • 2 tbsp of dried obeletientien leaves (crushed)
      • 2 tbsp of ground crayfish
      • 2 tsp of chili pepper
      • 1 tsp of Cameroun pepper
      • 3-4 medium pieces of stockfish
      • 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)

      Cooking Instructions

      1. First, wash your chicken and turkey cuts.
      2. Then put them in a pot and add enough water to cover them. Add chopped onions, seasoning cubes, and a little salt.
      3. Allow it to cook on medium heat until it is tender. Add the stockfish when your meat is tender, and continue to cook until both meat and fish are fully cooked. Then, remove the pot from the stove.
      4. In another pot, pour your palm fruit extract (if you are using store-bought extract, dilute with your chicken stock or water because it always comes thick) and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
      5. Add your oburunbebe stick, dried pepper, Banga spice (add just a little of the spice and taste before adding more, as too much of it will make the soup bitter), ground crayfish, stock fish, seasoning, and salt to taste. Then add your already-cooked chicken and turkey, and bring the soup to a boil.
      6. Allow your soup to cook for about 7 more minutes or until palm oil settles on top.
      7. Add your crushed obeletientien leaves or bitter leaves, then stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, then remove the oburunbebe stick from the soup. Wash the stick thoroughly with water; dry it and keep it for later use.
      8. Serve your Banga soup and enjoy it with starch, fufu, or any swallow of your choice.

      Fresh Fish Banga Soup Recipe

      Originally, Banga soup was often prepared using fresh fish and other seafood, such as prawns, as they were readily available to the Niger Delta people, the originators of Banga soup.

      Ingredients

      • 1 big can of palm fruit extract or 9-10 cups of manually extracted palm fruit juice
      • 2 tsp of Banga spice
      • 3 medium-sized catfish (cut into chunks)
      • 1 cup of fresh shrimp (cleaned)
      • ½ cup of periwinkle (cleaned, with the bottom part cut off and intestines removed)
      • 1 stick of oburunbebe (Banga stick)
      • 2 tbsp of dried obeletientien leaves (crushed)
      • 2 tbsp of ground crayfish
      • 2 tsp of chili pepper
      • 1 tsp of Cameroun pepper
      • 3-4 medium pieces of stockfish
      • 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
      • 2 seasoning cubes
      • Salt to taste

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Gut your fish and wash thoroughly with clean water. Ensure that you wash your catfish with salt, as it is naturally slimy, so you’ll have to scrub with salt to remove the slime.
      2. Wash your stock fish, put them in a pot, and add 2-3 cups of water (enough to cook the stockfish), chopped onions, seasoning cubes, and a little salt. Allow it to cook on medium heat until it is tender. Remove the pot from the stove when the stockfish is cooked.
      3. In another pot, pour your palm fruit extract (if you are using store-bought extract, dilute with the stock from the stockfish or water because it always comes thick) and start cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
      4. Add your oburunbebe stick, dried pepper, and Banga spice (add just a little of the spice and taste before adding more, as too much of it will make the soup bitter), stock fish, ground crayfish, seasoning, and salt to taste.
      5. Add your catfish or preferred fresh fish, shrimps, and periwinkle, and reduce the heat to low heat, then allow your soup to cook for about 7 minutes or until palm oil settles on top.
      6. Add your crushed obeletientien leaves or bitter leaves, then stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, then remove the oburunbebe stick from the soup. Wash the stick thoroughly with water; dry it and keep it for later use.
      7. Serve your Banga soup and enjoy it with starch, fufu, or any swallow of your choice.

      Note: It is advised that you leave your Banga soup uncovered while cooking because it tends to foam during the cooking process. Make sure to add bitter leaves sparingly, as too much will make your Banga soup bitter and inedible.

      If you feel the oil on top of your soup after cooking is too much, you can scoop some of the soup and keep it for later use

      Generally, you can cook Banga soup with any meat or fish of your choice, but if you are wondering how to get the other ingredients in the Banga soup recipes shared in this article, you don’t have to worry. You can get all the ingredients in any local market in Nigeria or any African market outside Nigeria.

      Undoubtedly, Banga soup is one of the most nutritious foods in Nigeria. Oil palm fruit extract is rich in vitamins A and E and antioxidants. So, the addition of Banga soup to your diet will benefit your health in many ways. So, try any of these Banga soup recipes well, and let us know which one you prefer.

      How to extract palm fruit juice

      As I mentioned, extracting juice from palm fruits takes the most time in all Banga soup recipes. For palm fruit juice extraction, you will need the following utensils:

      1. Wooden mortar and pestle.
      2. A large pot.
      3. Warm water.
      4. Kitchen sieve.
      5. 3 big bowls.

      To extract palm fruit juice, follow the steps below.

      1. Wash your palm fruits thoroughly with clean water to remove adhering dirt. Put the washed palm fruits in a pot and add water, just enough to cover the fruits.
      2. Cook on medium-high heat for about 30–40 minutes or until the husks are soft. One way to know that your palm fruits are soft enough is when the husk (flesh) easily falls off the nut as you rub it. You can also bite the flesh of one palm fruit to check for softness.
      3. Transfer the cooked palm fruits into a wooden mortar while they are still hot and pound them with a pestle until all the flesh is separated from the nuts. Be sure to pound gently to avoid breaking the palm nuts.
      4. Immediately after pounding, separate the nuts from the pulp and pour the pulp into a bowl.
      5. In another bowl, pour a small amount of warm water and rinse the nuts. In small batches, rinse the pulp in the same water you used for the nuts. Use both hands to squeeze out the palm fruit juice from the pulp until the water becomes concentrated; continue squeezing until you have squeezed out all the juice, leaving only the chaff. You can rinse the pulp in another warm water bowl to extract the juice completely.
      6. Sieve the extracted juice into a pot and boil it on medium heat to evaporate excess water and thicken it.
      7. When the extract is thickened, having the consistency of a highly concentrated juice, remove it from the stove and set aside. Then you proceed to cook your Banga soup.

      Read also: Banga Stew Recipes (Ofe Akwu)- Tips and Ingredients You’ll Love

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