It Is Culturally Believed That Banga Soup Is Of Niger-Delta Origin
The Nigerian society is accessorized with different delicacies which cut across the different ethnic groups. As a matter of fact, asides language and dressing, food are one of the major hallmarks in any ethnic group.
As Amala and Ewedu are to the people of south-western Nigeria, so is Banga Soup (also called Ofe Akwu) to the Niger-Deltas. The indigenes of specific ethnic groups make it a point of duty to make their meals popular by displaying it in intercultural events.
The Niger Delta is situated in the middle belt of Nigeria. Among the various meals that this ethnic group is known for is the Banga soup. The soup is a highly sought after delicacy which has the capacity to awaken the appetite of anyone just by its scent.
Following the adage that “Nothing good comes easy”, it might mislead people to think that the preparation of Ofe Akwu considering its exquisite taste, will be a really herculean task but the reverse is actually the case.
All you really need is a detailed recipe to help you translate this delicacy from your imagination to your pot.
If you genuinely want to stop fantasizing about Banga and you want to become a seasoned chef of the meal, all you have to do is study this recipe which will be shared in this post.
What are the Major Ingredients of Banga Soup?
Just like any other meal and soup, the ingredients make the difference. Once you miss out on any of these ingredients, it becomes just as good as making a whole new soup which will definitely be different from Banga. But if you are out to make Banga soup, these are the ingredients;
- Palm Fruit Concentrate
- Dry Fish
- Scent leaves (vegetables)
- Salt and Chili pepper
- Locust beans (Iru)
- Stock cubes
It is important to note here that the palm fruit oil extract used in preparing Ofe Akwu is not the same as the red oil used in making the regular or other Nigerian meals.
This palm fruit oil is extracted at very low temperature as opposed to the red oil which is extracted at high temperature. The palm fruit oil is also a mixture of oil and water. It contains less saturated fat than other oils
How to Cook Banga Soup (Recipes)
You cook the Banga with the palm fruit oil extract primarily, this could be freshly extracted or tinned, whichever it is; the first part is to set it aside in a pot and start cooking at high heat.
This cooking should be done until you notice there is a change in the appearance of the oil to the red oil seen in the Banga soup.
Keep cooking until it becomes as thick as you desire
Add the beef and dry fish(which should have been cooked properly with onions and stock cubes), the onions, crayfish pepper and leave to boil very well.
It is important these ingredients are properly cooked to avoid any form of raw taste in the soup.
Wash and slice the scent leaves into tiny bits then add it with salt to the soup just to taste. The main aim of the scent leaves is the unique taste and aroma of the soup
Leave the soup to cook and simmer for about 2mins, then your Banga soup is ready to serve.
Meals to eat with Banga Soup (Ofe Akwu)
The Ofe Akwu can actually be eaten with any food of your choice but according to reports, the following meals go well with it and make you enjoy the delicacy;
- Pounded yam
- Garri (Eba)
- White Rice
- Fufu (Apu)
Health Benefits of Banga Soup
It will amaze you to know the numerous benefits included in Banga Soup. Asides the fact, that it is delicious as a meal, it also has nutritional benefits which affect your health positively and they are;
- The presence of Palm oil in Banga Soup makes it rich in Vitamin K which helps prevent heart disease, it strengthens bones, it also has an antioxidant which repels cancer. Vitamin K also improves insulin sensitivity and prevents Alzheimer’s disease
- It aids proper metabolism of food and synthesis of proteins and fatty acids all due to the inclusion of magnesium in the meal
- It also reduces the occurrence of premenstrual symptoms such as bloating of the leg, insomnia, breast tenderness and so on.
- It promotes healthy vision
- It gives your skin a generally better feel and looks.
Side Effects of Banga Soup (Ofe Akwu)
Just as the saying goes “Too much of everything is bad”, so as good and healthy, excess consumption of it can have negative effects on the body of the consumer. These side effects include;
The major side effect of this meal is due to the inclusion of palm oil in the food. It can, therefore, lead to high cholesterol level in the body which can lead to so many other diseases. The preventive measure is to avoid excess intake of this meal.
Who Should Not Eat Ofe Akwu?
If you are trying to lose weight, then Ofe Akwu is something you should avoid or eat very sparingly. This is simply because of the presence of cholesterol in the soup.
Banga Soup is one of the major pride of the Calabar people in Niger Delta part of Nigeria; it is not just another soup that you cook. It is very central to their culture and tradition. Cook great Ofe Akwu for a Calabar indigene and be sure to win the person’s heart. Our recipe should do the magic!
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