Banga/ Efere Abak Soup Or Ofe Akwu
Banga Soup or Ofe Akwu is a native soup that is generally eaten by the people of Niger Delta and the southeastern parts of Nigeria. In Niger delta, it is called Banga soup or Efere Abak first Ibibio/Efik, commonly consumed with various fufu recipes like starch, scalded, semolina, garri and cassava fufu. In the southeastern part of Nigeria, it is called Ofe Akwu where Ofe means soup / stew and Akwu means palm fruit. It is mainly used as a stew for the Igbos with boiled white rice.
The extract of palm fruit oil used in cooking Banga soup/ Ofe Akwu or Abak for the Ibibio/Efik is very different from the red palm oil used in cooking Nigerian food recipes. Palm oil is pure oil extracted from the palm pulp at high temperatures. While the palm fruit oil extract used for the Abak or Banga soup is extracted at a very low temperature. It is a mixture of oil and water. Palm fruit oil extraction used for Banga soup contains less saturated fats than palm oils.
Ingredients Needed For Banga Or Abak Soup | Ofe Akwu
- 1 kg of palm fruits or 800 g of canned fruit concentrate
- Beef or goat meat
- Cow Skin (Pomo or Ikpa)
- Stock cube
- Stock fish
- Periwinkle (mfi)
- Dry fish
- Vegetables: Atama leaf (Ibibio/Efik), Scent leaves due to the ablaze Akwu or dry and crushed bitter leaves for the Delta-style (Banga soup)
- 1 medium onions
- 2 tablespoons of ground shrimp (crayfish)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Uyayak (Efik/Ibibio recipe) optional as it only gives natural and unique flavor. It is to remained in the pot and not served nor eaten
- Ogiri Okpei (Iru) (Igbo recipe)
ALSO READ: Nkpa Efere | Oha Leave Soup | Ingredients Needed For Preparation | Method Of Preparation | Nigerian Delicacies | African Food
Preparation For Banga Soup | Ofe Akwu
- Extract the palm fruit concentrate from the palm fruits. If you use canned fruit concentrate, open the mold and set it aside.
- Cook the meat, stockfish and dry fish with onion bulb cut into cubes add pepper, salt, and stock cube and heat until cooked.
- Wash and cut the desired leaf into small pieces. If you cook the Ibibio)Efik style Abak/Banga soup the Atama leaf and uyayak gives the soup a very unique taste and flavor. For the Igbos, the scent leaves gives the Banga stew (Ofe Akwu) a unique aroma and flavor. If you cook the Niger Delta-style Banga soup for starch, you should cook this soup without vegetables or use dried and crushed bitter leaves.
NOTE: If you’re out of Nigeria, this can be hard to find, so you can use pumpkin leaves or any other plant instead of the scent leaves.
- Then cut the bulb of the remaining onion. Cut the the soft side of the uyayak; rinse and set aside (Efik style), Pound the crayfish, the okpei ogiri (Igbo) and the pepper in a mortar and set aside. You can also grind with a dry mill.
- Set the pot of palm extract on the stove and start cooking over high heat.
- Let it boil until you notice the red oil on the surface of the Banga stew. But if you think the Banga soup is watery, cook until the soup has thickened to the consistency you like for your stews.
- Now add the meat, the dried fish and the stock, the onions, the crayfish and the pepper and then boil very well.
- Add the scent leaves or other vegetables and salt to taste.
- Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes.
- Then! your Banga soup is ready.
Serve with white rice or use the Ibibio/Efik, Niger Delta style Banga soup to eat starch, garri, semolina, amala or Pounded yam.
ALSO READ: Edikaikong Soup | Ikong Ubong Soup | Ingredients Needed For Edikang Ikong Soup | How To Cook Edikang Ikong Soup | Top Nigerian Cuisines
Directions Of Cooking For Those Who Use Concentrated Canned Palm Fruits
- When the meat, stockfish, pomo, periwinkle and fish are well done, add the palm fruit concentrate and add the water to get the consistency you like for your stews.
- Allow to boil very well.
- Then add the onions, Crayfish, pepper and uyayak or the mixture of ogiri and boil very well.
- Add the desired leaves and salt to taste.
- Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes. Then! Banga soup is ready.
Moreover, if you used Atama or bitter leaves to prepare it, serve with Nigerian fufu. And if you used scent leaves to prepare it, serve with boiled white rice.