January 17, 2014

Food I love - Nigerian Banga Soup

Hi guys! I'm starting our recipe corner this year sharing and celebrating one of the tastiest and authentic soups to come out of Nigeria. ‘Banga Soup’ also known as Ofe Akwu, is originally from the southern part of Nigeria but has been imbibed  by  Nigerians  all over the country and can be  found almost in any part of the country you visit but with little variations.

I originally did this post as a guest post for Eya's blog , at that time I didn't know the names of the spices which in my opinion gives this soup its unique aroma and taste, the readers on that blog graciously schooled me on the various names of the spices.
The main Ingredient used in making the soup is the Palm kernel, which comes from a plant!...….. and  that makes it a vegetable right? just kidding :) .   

For those of you, like me who worry about the bad health rap palm kernel  may have received, I conducted a little research, based on my findings, there is a sort of disagreement and mixed results on the nutritive benefits/ dangers of palm kernel.   
While palm kernal oil is said to be high in saturated vegetable fat, it’s been found to have no cholesterol, and has been accepted to be a natural replacement for hydrogenated vegetable oils which are high in trans fat according to a 2010, report published by the journal of the  American college of nutrition.

I always say, everything is good in moderation, so invariably you ultimately control how good or bad a food will be to your body, therefore... on to our deliciously Nigerian recipe!


Palm kernel nuts Or commercially packed  kernel oil in a can
Dried Fish
Stock Fish (optional)
Fresh Peppers  
Chopped Onions
Ground Crayfish
Knorr cubes
Banga Spices - I use four of them namely,  Oburunbebe the stick, Otaiko tiny  black flat seed, Rogejie the  tiny brown seed, dried bitter leaves or Obeletete,   

Palm Kernal in its original state and commercially packaged

Source here and here

  Already washed raw palm kernal oil

Sorry guys, washed my Palm kernel before I realized I hadn't taken a photo in its raw state


Cooked Stock Fish and beef

Dried Fish

Fresh Peppers  ( You can use dry ground pepper,  I prefer the fresh taste I get from using a mix of roughly ground fresh red and yellow peppers)

Banga Spices I use 4 of them  namely  Oburunbebe stick, Otaiko the tiny  black flat seeds, Rogejie the  tiny brown seeds, dried bitter leaves or Obeletete.   Grind the two seeds and crush the stick.  

Alternatively you can chose to buy the already ground one, just ask the market women for ground banga spices they would sort you out,  although I prefer the flavours of the whole spices.

The four Banga Spices I use

Already ground spices the alternative to whole spices

Crushed Banga stick

1.      Season and boil beef with your stock fish

2.    Boil your palm kernel until soft, then pound in a mortar to squash but not hard enough to crack the nuts. Add some water and squeeze palm kernel to get the oil out, pour washed kernel into a sieve to separate palm oil from the husk of the nuts. Keep adding water and washing out oil until all the oil is out of the palm husk. 

Washed and boiling palm kernal

3.    Pour washed  oil in a pot, place on the fire and allow to boil for about 30mins then add chopped onion, ground pepper and the stick (I usually crush my stick in a mortar to release the flavours before adding to the boiling soup),  then  cook for a further 15mins.

Adding the stick

Adding ground pepper and Onion

4.    Add your beef, stock fish and dried fish to boiling soup, depending on how dry your fish is, mine was quite dry so I put it at this stage.  If your fish is not very dry then you can wait until towards the end of the cooking to add it so there can still be some whole chunks. If using fresh fish, which is fantabolous with banga soup you also add that towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t break up into tiny bits completely.  Allow to cook again for another 10mins.

Banga soup with all the spices added

5.     Add your ground spices, EXCEPT the dried bitter leaves or Obeletete . At this stage you would notice your Banga soup is getting thicker and that wonderful banga aroma! (thanks to its unique spices) would have filled your whole house,  Allow to simmer for further 10mins.  Then Add your knorr cubes and salt to taste, ground crayfish and dried bitter leaves allow to simmer for 5mins and…… that’s all!

Banga soup going through the final simmering with all ingredients added

Voila! ready!  Serve with some nice starch, eba, pounded yam or Fufu   *said in an American accent*  :).

Notes :  The  cooking time will vary depending on  how watery you wash your palm kernel nuts. It is usually shorter with canned kernel nut  (which is quite convenient.)  BUT nothing beats the taste of fresh kernel. The aim of cooking this long is to take off the oily taste of the nuts and to get a slightly thick soup, whatever cooking duration gives you this consistency is fine.

Tried it?  let me know what you did differently and how it came out.

Bon Apetit!


  1. This looks amazing!! Banga soup and starch is a staple where I'm from(Ijaw girl) though I've never tried it(Ajebutter). Seeing the process make it a whole lot tempting and it looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  2. Thanks for your comment, now following you x

  3. Looks yummy!
    I love Banga soup but rarely eat it. This is definitely a recipe I would love to try.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Banga of life. One of my favorite soups. Looks very delicious. Wondering why you didn't invite me over the day you made it...lol.


    1. Sweets you know you don't need an invite. Just barge in anytime :)

  5. great post!let’s follow each other on gfc&bloglovin?
    flw me and tell where u’ve followed me!



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