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How To Cook Banga Soup (Banga Soup Recipe)

how to cook banga soup

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 fufu recipes: Starch, Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri and Cassava Fufu. 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 Boiled White Rice. Below is a step by step guide of how to cook banga soup.

The palm fruit oil extract used in cooking Banga Soup / Stew is quite different from the red 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

  • 1 kg Palm Fruits or 800g tinned Palm Fruit Concentrate
  • Beef
  • Dry Fish
  • Vegetable: Scent Leaves for Ofe Akwu or dried and crushed bitter leaves 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

Before you cook the Nigerian Banga Soup

  1. Extract the palm fruit concentrate from the palm fruits. If using the tinned palm fruit concentrate, open the tin and set aside.
  2. Cook the beef and the dry fish with 1 bulb of diced onion and the stock cubes till done.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Cooking Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Now, add the beef, dry fish and stock, the onions, crayfish and pepper and leave to boil very well.
  3. Add the scent leaves or other vegetables and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins. The Banga Soup is done. Serve with White Rice or use the Delta-style Banga Soup to eat Starch, Garri, Semolina, Amala or Pounded Yam.

Cooking Directions for those using tinned palm fruit concentrate

  1. When the beef and fish are well done, add the palm fruit concentrate and add water to get the consistency you like for your stews. Leave to boil very well.
  2. Add the onions, crayfish, pepper and ogiri blend and let it boil very well.
  3. Add the scent leaves or other vegetables and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins. The Banga Soup is done.

If you used bitter leaves to prepare it, serve with Nigerian fufu meals especially Starch. If you used scent leaves to prepare it, serve with boiled white rice. If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to Banga soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Banga Soup Online

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How To Cook Ogbono Soup: Ogbono Soup Recipe

Are you one of those who say Ogbono Soup is difficult to cook because you dont know how to cook Ogbono Soup! You believe in myth that Ogbono Soup does not draw if you cover the pot! Ogbono Soup burns easily! Your Ogbono Soup tastes like soap, Ogbono Soup this, Ogbono Soup that.

Come with me let’s settle these Ogbono Soup complaints once and for all. On this page, I will show you how to cook the best Ogbono Soup you have ever cooked.

Best Nigerian Ogbono Soup Ingredients

These are the ingredients I used to cook the big pot of Ogbono Soup in the video below. Feel free to reduce the quantities of ingredients for a smaller pot of Ogbono Soup.

  • 1½ cups Ogbono seeds (1 cup ground Ogbono)
  • 2kg beef, cow skin and cow tripe
  • 4 pieces of stockfish
  • 1 cup stockfish chin chin
  • ½ cup palm oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 pieces of ogiri okpei
  • ¼ cup ground crayfish
  • 4 small seasoning cubes
  • Spinach/ugu (quantity to your liking)
  • Uziza leaves (quantity to your liking)
  • Habanero pepper (to your taste)
  • ½ sweet pepper (fresh paprika)
  • Salt (to taste)

More information about some Ogbono Soup ingredients mentioned above

If you are not familiar with any of the ingredients mentioned above, use the links below to find out more about that ingredient.

  • If you don’t have ogiri okpei, skip it. 
  • stockfish chin chin.
  • Ugu leaves.
  • The sweet pepper is added just for colour, else the Ogbono Soup will look plain.

Tools and utensils you’ll need

The following are some tools you’ll need to cook Ogbono Soup:

  • Spice grinder for grinding the Ogbono seeds: 
  • Pressure Pot for cooking the hard meats. My pressure pot is Fagor. They no longer make the exact model. There are similar great pressure pots.

Before you prepare the best Ogbono Soup

  1. Grind the ogbono if it is the seeds you have. Click here to see the trick I use to get my spice grinder to grind ogbono seeds very well.
  2. Grind the crayfish with the ogiri okpei. Break up the ogiri okpei into pieces before grinding so the spice grinder will do a good job of grinding it.
  3. Wash and slice the vegetables. I tear up the soft vegetables with my fingers because I prefer the way they look in the soup when done that way.
  4. Chop the sweet pepper and habanero peppers.

Directions for making the best Ogbono Soup

It is better to see this Ogbono Soup being cooked than reading about it. Watch the video below for details.

  1. If using a pressure cooker, cook the meats and stockfish at the same time with the seasoning cubes and onions. If using a normal pot, start cooking the toughest meat first (cow skin) then add the others as you cook.
  2. When the meat and stockfish are done, remove them from the stock and set aside. De-bone and break up the stockfish into medium pieces.
  3. Pour palm oil into a clean dry pot. Melt the oil if it is congealed then turn off the heat. Notice that I wrote MELT, no need to heat up the oil.
  4. Add the ground ogbono then mix well with a spatula.
  5. Start adding the stock (water from cooking the meats) bit by bit and stir at the same time making sure the ogbono mix is not lumpy.
  6. When all the stock water is in the pot, turn on the heat. Cover the pot and start cooking.
  7. Keep an eye on it and stir it often because Ogbono is prone to burning.
  8. Cook for at least 20 minutes because that’s from when the nice aroma and taste of ogbono comes through.
  9. After 20 minutes of cooking and stirring it often, add the ground crayfish including the one ground with ogiri okpei.
  10. Add the chopped peppers and stir very well making sure there are no crayfish lumps.
  11. Add the stock fish and the rest of the meat.
  12. Add salt if necessary. Lots of ingredients that are already in the pot taste salty: stockfish, seasoning cubes, crayfish, ogiri okpei. So taste for salt and confirm it is necessary before adding more.
  13. Stir very well, cover the pot and once it boils again, add the spinach/ugu and uziza leaves.
  14. Cover and cook for at most half a minute. And it’s done!
  15. Stir very well and transfer to a cool container immediately so the green vegetables do not darken.

Serve with any Nigerian fufu meal. It goes well with White Agidi too.

Reasons why your Ogbono Soup does not draw

Lots of people in this day and age still believe that covering the pot while preparing Ogbono Soup kills the elasticity of ogbono making the soup not to draw (be elastic). This is unfortunate because there are so many reasons why your Ogbono Soup is like Pepper Soup but covering the pot while cooking the soup is not one of them!

The following are genuine reasons why your Ogbono Soup does not draw. I will add more as they come to mind.

  1. You are not using enough ogbono: Some people want to use one cup of ogbono seeds to cook Ogbono Soup for a large crowd. That’s not going to happen. The quantity of ogbono you are using should be commensurate to the quantity of soup you are cooking. If the soup is watery, no elasticity is happening.
  2. You are using the wrong ogbono seeds: there are a few seeds in the market sold as ogbono seeds but those other seeds do not produce enough elastic sap to draw like the real ogbono seeds. Ogbono is Wild Mango but sometimes the seed from Bush Mango is sold as ogbono seeds. When buying ogbono, carry out a sap test by breaking one ogbono seed and rubbing the broken sides against each other, after some time, the elastic sap that forms will noticeably draw when you try to separate the two pieces of broken seeds.
  3. You buy ground ogbono from African food shops: whenever you buy ground ogbono, in fact any ground Nigerian ingredient, you are taking a huge risk because you never know what is in there. It may look like ground ogbono but if you are lucky, there will be only 50% of ogbono in the pack.
  4. You bought moldy ogbono: this is an extension of buying ground ogbono. You do not know when they ground the ogbono, first signs of mold may have set in but you will only see it if you look closely. Mold makes ogbono lose its elasticity.
  5. Once you grind ogbono it starts losing its elasticity so again, if you buy ground ogbono from the shops, chances are that it has been a long time they ground the ogbono seeds so all the elasticity is gone by the time it goes into your pot.
  6. The ogbono is too dusty: if you see where they are grinding these commercial ogbono, you will see how dusty the seeds are. The sellers do not have time to brush off the dust. This means that sometimes the ground ogbono you bought is 50% dust.
  7. You bought old ogbono. Even when you buy the seeds, it may have been a 3 year old ogbono so the elasticity may have gone by the time you use it.
  8. You fried the ogbono when preparing the soup. In the recipe above, I stated that you should mix the ground ogbono in melted red palm oil with the heat turned OFF. If you fry the ogbono on high heat, all the elasticity will be destroyed.

If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to Ogbono soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Ogbono Soup Online .

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