Ofe akwu is native Nigerian stew made from palm fruits
Ofe Akwu popularly known as Banga soup is native to the Southern and Eastern parts of Nigeria.
It is the fruit of the famous palm oil tree.
When well prepared, Banga Soup is a soothing meal; it simply relaxes me because it is easy on the mouth and stomach.
When shopping for Banga seeds or fruit, you could buy a combination of native and ‘agric’ species. The native Banga is best for its oil and scent. While the agric Banga is to make the soup thicken better, thus giving the soup a nice thick and oily look.
To cook Banga Soup, you would need a mortar, colander and the following:
- Beef, goat meat, fresh fish or chicken
- Banga fruits (native and agric)
- Dry pepper
- Dry fish
- Scent leaves
Wash the Banga thoroughly, put it in a pot with a lot of water then cook till it is tender and its covering can easily peel off. If there is a second stove, have about three litres of water in a kettle and bring it to a boil.
Put the seeds in a mortar then pound sideways till all the fruit covering it is very loose. Pour the boiling water in the mortar and mix it a bit with a spoon. A metal or aluminum colander that can sit nicely in the pot will come in handy here.
Pour the Banga fruit and water in the colander and let the water drain into the pot or a bowl than can accommodate the colander and not spill the hot liquid. You can pour more hot water over the fruits in the colander if you want more liquid for the soup. Bear in mind that Banga often cooks for over 30 minutes, so be generous with the water.
Also, read The healthiest way to prepare Okro soup
To save gas or electricity, the ponmo, beef, and/or goat meat can go into the pot after the Banga has cooked for about 30 minutes. At this point, the soup should look like palm oil was added to it.
Otherwise, you could parboil your beef or goat meat. However, if you are using fresh fish or chicken, these don’t take long to cook so you can put them in when the Banga fluid is as thick as you would like.
After your chosen animal protein has cooked for about five to 10 minutes, the onions, crayfish, pepper, seasoning cubes, and salt can go into the pot. When you are satisfied with the texture or thickness of the soup, send in the sliced scent leaves.
After three minutes, the Banga Soup is ready to serve with white rice or any swallow of your choice.
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