Banga Soup. Pride of The Niger Delta

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I really wasn’t going to blog much this summer. It has been too hot. In fact the day I made this soup, I asked myself “who send me sha?”  Nothing will make me write again this summer kai!. The heat and humidity is just annoying lol :)…Most of my photos are taken outside, so imagine me in the sun with all the humidity. I ‘omase’d’ for myself lol! You had to see me sweating and eating banga soup at the same time LOL!!!

Anyway, I grew up in Warri in Delta state and one of the staple soups there is Banga soup seasoned with very aromatic spices; then cooked to perfection with meat or fish. My favorite of the banga spices is Ataiko. Although these days, you can find the special blend at the market or at the African shops, below is an image with Banga spices.

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banga soup spices. photo by Matsecooks.com

In Nigeria, Palm oil is a huge staple; even though most of my people see it as “not healthy”, Palm oil is one of the world’s best super food. I think “Whole foods” sell palm oil too(Not sure)…I checked online and I saw that Walmart sells it; even Amazon. But in Africa, not only do we have the farms where the palm fruits are grown and harvested, we have the local and machine owned processing plants for palm oil…And your benefiting any kind of nutrients from the palm oil is determined by how you cook it. i.e bleaching and not bleaching…and how much you use per pot of food during cooking. As with everything, a little here, a little there won’t kill you. It actually helps to keep your skin shiny and moisturized.

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Google image of palm fruit farm

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Google image of harvested palm fruits

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Google image of a man holding a harvested palm fruit

I remember being a young girl and roasting the palm fruit in the open fire; then eating the fruit’s pulp after that. You know what? It was absolutely delicious. The way the juices melted in my mouth while I chewed the pulp is just indescribable. And the nutty smell too; there was something comforting about about it.

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Google image of roasted palm fruit.

Another use of palm fruits is to make fire and even palm kernel oil for the skin. After the palm fruits are washed, cooked and squeezed, the chaf is usually used to make fire; which can be used by locals to cook. I cannot even begin to narrate all the beautiful uses of the palm fruit…but it is quite fascinating how much use one single bunch of palm fruit can give.

Now to my bowl of Banga soup…

I always make Banga soup this way when I miss home; i.e Warri in Delta state, Nigeria. And this time, I tried it using my native pot(Asanka). See, I had never cooked in my native pot before, so it was untreated according to Matse; because when I tried cooking my Banga soup in it, it foamed soooooo badly that I got scared say make foam no kee me for this country for where I dey do native doctor 🙂 LOL!!! Anyway with all the help I got from my instagram’s page, I finally nailed it. To use a brand new and untreated native pot, you have to do a few things. Pour some water in the pot; and using low heat, let the water come to a boil, empty the pot and boil another. Do this a few times. You could also leave the empty native pot on the low heat to get pretty hot for a few minutes; then rub some oil in it before use. These days there are already treated native pots being sold, so you don’t have to be like me and start boiling and pouring out water. Don’t do suffer head things biko! 🙂 LOL!!!

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My foaming banga soup in my native pot

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No foaming after cleaning the native pot

To cook banga soup. The palm fruits are usually washed and cooked until soft; then crushed in a food processor or in a mortar; then the plup is squeezed; using water and drained. I went the easier route by using palm fruit puree(cream) in a can…I remember the first day I tasted banga soup. One of my brothers brought home some fresh cat fish and some Palm fruits. He boiled, pounded and squeezed out the cream; leaving me the mess to clean up as the youngest child…Nawa! Well, it was my first time eating cat fish also and I lovedd every bite. I didn’t want to finish mine. I ate it oh so slowly and savored each bite. Plus I didn’t want to wash dishes too…Even with my broken thumb, these people preyed on me to wash their dishes. I think its a crime to be the youngest child…”tongue out”…My siblings had theirs with starch, but I was like “miss me with that biko!” I used yellow garri 🙂

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google image of boiled banga fruit

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All Nigerian recipes…image of crushed banga pulp

For the love of banga soup sha…

Banga Soup.
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1lb cooked meat
  • 1 medium sized fresh cod fish(cut and seasoned with salt and 1tsp dry chili)
  • A handful of stock fish bits(or cooked stock fish)
  • 1 small dry fish
  • ½lb fresh shrimp(you could even add mussels if you are trying to be adventurous)
  • 400g of banga puree(palm fruit cream)
  • 400-500g of water or meat stock
  • 3 packets of banga spice
  • 2 tsps. of beletete
  • 2crushed habanero peppers(ata-rodo)(ose-Nsukka)
  • half of a small onion(minced)
  • 1tsp dry chili
  • 1tsp crayfish
  • Oburunbebe stick(optional)
  • water
  • Bouillon
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add the banga puree into a pot, add the water or stock along with the dry chili, onions, and stock fish bits.(You may add more or less water to your taste). Bring the pot to a boil. Add the meat and the banga spices along with the oburunbebe stick if using. Once it begins to thicken add the dry fish, cray fish, fresh fish, and the shrimp. then add the beletete. Check for seasonings and cook until the fish is cooked and well combined with the soup; then add the crushed habaneros for taste. Set aside and serve with any swallow of your choice. Some people use starch for the umami!

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Tory says:

    Hello,
    Can’t wait to make it!
    What is Beletete in English or is there another name for it. Could not find it at my local African store.
    Thank you.

  2. E - O says:

    Hello Nma. Great job I was chanced on your blog while……I’d rather not say. Lol. Anyways, I’m a warri boy and the very first meal I cooked was Banga soup. I was in JSS 2. Grandma set me up..lol. My concern is with the spices used. Umilo, gbafilo and Iwo are typically used for pepper soup related meals (Ukodo/Epuru, Egusi peppersoup, okro peppersoup and rarely, on preference, Ghana stew), I’m not sure I’ve come across Banga soup made with those spices and now I’m curious as to how it will taste. Lol. I might try it out. Well done, Sis.

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