Banga soup is a delicacy mostly enjoyed by the Urhobo and Itsekiri tribes of Delta State in South-South Nigeria. It is made from palm fruit oil extract, spices, meat, and fish. It is served alongside fufu, eba, pounded yam, rice, banku, among others. The soup is also popular in Ghana and Cameroon, where it is known as Abenkwan and Mbanga respectively.
Some of the ingredients for Banga soup include seafood (crayfish, catfish, stockfish, shrimps, dry fish, periwinkles, etc.), meat (tripe, cow leg, etc.), pepper (Cameroon pepper, crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper), onions, Beletete leaves, Banga stick (Oburunbebe stick), water, seasoning cubes and salt.
When preparing Banga soup, rinse the meat and put it in a pot; add sliced onions, pepper and salt; allow the meat to boil until it is tender. Also, wash the stockfish and cook it for about 10 minutes. When satisfied, set both aside.
Pour the palm fruit extract into a pot and set it on high heat. Leave it to cook until the red oil floats on its surface. Add enough water so that the thickness of the extract can loosen. Add the meat stock from the boiled meat as it will add flavor to the soup.
Later, add meat or fish of choice, onions, Banga stick, crayfish and pepper into the soup and let it boil. Afterwards, add the crushed Beletete leaves plus salt and stir. Leave it to cook for about two minutes. Remove the Banga stick and let the soup simmer. Then dish it out.
Banga soup has nutritional values, which includes unsaturated fat, richness in Vitamins A, E and K, lowering of the risks of cancer and heart disease, among others.
Uzoma Ihejirika is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He is an editor for the AfroAnthology Series and a copy editor for Minority Africa and has written for Open Country Mag. He has works on Lolwe and Isele Magazine.