How to prepare Banga Soup!
Banga soup is one of the popular delicacies especially among people of Niger – Delta origin. There are different varieties of Banga soup depending on the desired taste and the ingredients used. Banga soup can be eaten with Eba(garri),starch, Semo etc.
The steps in the preparation are summarised below in brief.
Ingredients: The choice of ingredients depends on the desired taste. To make it easier, many prepackaged spices for Banga soup are now available in the market. But if you can master the individual ingredients/spices and the unique taste they give, you can always get the taste you want. The basic ingredients include but not limited to:
1. Banga (palm fruits)
2. Fish/meat (either dry or fresh)
5. Okro( optional, prefered when dry fish or meat is used)
6. Lime leaf or Lemon grass(preferred only when fresh fish or meat is used)
7. Sweetener eg Maggi star,grounded cray fish
9. Vegetable eg Bitter leaf (optional)
Boil the Banga(Palm fruits) until well cooked and softened.
~Mash the cooked Banga in a mortar using pestle.
~ Add water gradually to the mashed banga in the mortar to extract the juice from the chaff and collect extracted fluid in a clean pot.
Note: The volume as well as the viscosity of the soup you want tells you the quantity of banga to buy and the volume of water you should add per time in extracting the juicy banga fluid from the chaff after mashing.
~Put the extracted fluid from step 2 above on the fire to cook.
~ Add your ingredients one after the other: grounded pepper,onion(you may slice part of the onion and grind some), salt, sweetener, Okra(if using dry meat/fish), lime leaf/lemon grass(if using fresh fish/meat),your fish/meat OR your prepackaged Banga soup spice and then leave to boil until properly cooked to taste.
Note: Your skill in adding the right quantity of the right ingredients in the right time determines the overall taste you would arrive at. Now,
1. You may not add your onion,lime leaf/lemon grass and any other ingredients with aromatic constituents too early so as not to lose much of their aromas due to prolonged cooking.
2. If you are using fresh fish that may scatter on prolonged cooking, you may wait to add it when you have added the other ingredients and after adding to the soup,you have to now stir more gently so as not to scatter it.
For dry meat or fresh unsteamed meat,you may add immediately you put your soup on fire so as to allow more time to cook and release it’s taste in the soup.
3. Except for experts, always add your,pepper, salt and sweetener bit by bit in order to arrive at your desired taste.
Stir and taste your soup regularly to monitor the taste towards your desire. When your soup is now well cooked to taste,take it down from the fire,serve and enjoy it with your Eba(garri),starch etc as you chose.
Congratulations, you are now a great Cook!
I remain your Chef,
Emmanuel Oghenekaro Eyafimoni