Banga Soup Recipe (Delta-Style Palm Nut Soup) (2024)

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Banga soup is a rich and hearty palm nut soup that’s very popular in West Africa. Here’s how to make the easy Delta version, best served with starch.

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Not to be confused with Ofe Akwu or Banga stew, this delicious Delta-style Banga soup is made with special aromatics, giving it that distinct taste best enjoyed with starch.

In fact, it’s one of the world’s best soups!

But don’t worry, this palm nut soup is easy to make because we’ll use canned palm nut concentrate.

Have your swallow ready because this finger-licking soup will be ready in no time!

What Is Banga Soup?

Banga soup is a palm nut soup from the Niger-Delta region. The Igbo people also have their version called Ofe Akwu or Banga stew, which is enjoyed with rice instead of swallow foods.

A West African staple, this nourishing soup is one of the most satisfying and flavorful dishes you can delight your family with.

It’s cooked with different meats, fish, and spices, and if you want to enjoy it the traditional way, serve your Banga in native clay pots! Trust me; my mom has always served Banga soup in a clay pot, and it tastes way better than if you have it on glass/ceramic plates.

Why?

Clay pots not only thicken the soup but also preserve the soup’s authentic flavor and aroma.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy:This recipe for Banga soup makes the preparation so much quicker and easier because it’s made with canned palm nut concentrate. It’s also a dish all done in one pot, so the clean-up is hassle-free.
  • Adaptable:Modify this Banga recipe to what you have on hand. Don’t like fish? You can use other types of meat!
  • Hearty:Unlike other soups that will leave you unsatisfied, banga soup is packed with textures and flavors that will fill you up and please your senses. Try it with starch, fufu, or eba, and you’ll understand why it’s considered a West African staple.

What Does Banga Soup Taste Like?

Banga soup has a pleasant nutty flavor from the palm nuts. However, it’s a dish that offers layers of flavor from the assorted spices, meat, veggies, and fish.

The overall taste is rich, umami, and just delightful. The ingredients balance and complement each other, so I encourage you to really try to get a hold of everything in this Nigerian Banga soup recipe.

You can get most of the ingredients on Amazon and Walmart, so don’t worry about their availability.

And for more delicious add-ins and substitutes, scroll down.

Banga Soup Ingredients

  • Palm nut concentrate – No need to look for fresh palm nuts to enjoy this delicious palm nut soup! You can just grab a can of palm fruit concentrate.
  • Water – Be careful not to use too much water to get the perfect thick consistency on your Banga soup.
  • Oburunbebe sticks – These small brown sticks play a big role in giving your Banga soup the best taste.
  • Dried crayfish – A staple in West African cooking, dried crayfish is like a rich seasoning for our delicious Banga.
  • Scotch bonnet peppers – Balance the richness of the delightful soup.
  • Onion – This underrated soup ingredient adds depth to the dish with its subtle sweetness.
  • Stockfish – Don’t be intimidated by the concentrated fish flavor of stockfish. It tastes absolutely divine in the thick, umami Banga soup.
  • Banga spice – Adds that distinct, warm, earthy, smokey flavor to this delicious soup that satisfies all 5 tastes!
  • Seasoning cube – To season your soup to taste.
  • Salt – This is one of those dishes where salt won’t do a lot of heavy lifting, so be mindful of the amount you’ll add.
  • Beletete leaves – Contributes to the consistency, flavor, and aroma of the Banga soup.
  • Fresh catfish – The most used fish in palm nut soup. You can use dried or fresh.
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Tools Needed To Prepare Banga Soup

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions When Cooking Banga Soup

Beletete leaves substitute

You can still make this recipe for Banga soup even if you don’t have Beletete leaves. Substitute them with dried basil, bitter leaf, or scent leaves!

Scotch Bonnet peppers substitute

Feel free to substitute Scotch bonnet peppers with Habanero peppers! You can also adjust the heat level of your Banga soup according to your preference.

Add-ins

Make your Banga soup extra hearty and tasty with assorted meats and seafood! Add beef, shrimp, or periwinkle to the dish.

How to Prepare Delta Banga Soup

Ingredients:

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Tools you need:

Instructions:

STEP 1: Add palm nut concentrate and 4 to 5 cups of water to a pot. Stir to combine.

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STEP 2: Add 1 to 2 Oburunbebe sticks to the pot.

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STEP 3: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not over, but you can use a splatter guard.

STEP 4: Once the palm oil rises to the top, add the crayfish, Scotch bonnet peppers, and blended onion. Stir to combine.

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STEP 5: Add the stockfish. Continue cooking over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

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STEP 6: Once the Banga soup thickens, stir in the Banga spice, seasoning cube, and salt.

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STEP 7: After letting the soup cook for 10 more minutes, add the Beletete leaves and catfish so the latter won’t get too soft and fall apart as you stir the soup.

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STEP 8: Continue cooking on low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

STEP 9: Serve your Banga soup with starch, rice, boiled yam, plantain, or your choice of swallow.

What to Serve With This Banga Soup Recipe

What to serve with Banga soup? The “swallow for Banga,” of course. It’s a yellow swallow, also known as starch, Delta starch, or Usi.

Starch is made from cassava, and its thick, stretchy consistency is the best accompaniment to the rich, thick soup.

You can also pair your Banga soup with eba, fufu, pounded yam, boiled plantains, and white rice!

Don’t forget to serve the soup in clay pots for a more authentic experience!

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And to end the meal, why not try more Nigerian delights?

Whip up some Nigerian coconut candies for dessert and Nigerian Zobo drink to wash it all down.

Tips About Making Banga Soup

  • Depending on how dry your stockfish is, you may want to soak it for a few hours to soften it first.
  • As the Banga soup thickens, it will get more flavorful. You don’t want it to get too salty, so wait until the very end to add more salt.
  • You can discard some of the palm oil that rises on the top of the soup or save it to make starch. My best-tasting starch for Banga is usually made from the palm oil saved from the soup! 🙌🏾
  • Want to impress your family, friends, or in-laws? Here’s a secret: Serve this soup in a traditional clay pot! The starch can go on a regular ceramic plate.

How To Store Banga Soup

  • Fridge:You can keep your leftover Banga soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just make sure to cool it completely before storage.
  • Freezer:Banga soup is freezer-friendly! Transfer the soup to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating:If frozen, thaw the palm nut soup in the fridge overnight. Then, you can reheat it in the microwave, or much preferably, in a saucepan on the stove at low heat.
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What Can I Use to Thicken Banga Soup?

You can use oat flour to thicken your banga soup if it ends up too watery. Mix it with water, add it to the soup, and boil for 3 to 5 minutes.

It’s also worth noting that you should allow your banga soup to cook for some time so it gets thick enough. In fact, this is the preferred way to thicken banga soup as it won’t affect the taste of the soup.

If you do this, remove the seafood and meats in the soup so they won’t get too soft as you cook the dish longer.

Why Is My Banga Soup Watery?

Adding too much water can make your Banga soup watery.

The solution? You can add a thickener, or as I mentioned previously, continue cooking the soup over high heat so the excess water evaporates.

FAQs About This Banga Soup Recipe

Which tribe eats Banga soup?

Banga soup, together with starch, is often enjoyed by the Urhobos and Itsekiris.

What is the English name of Banga stick?

If you can’t get your hands on Banga sticks, they’re also called African Licorice sticks in English.

What is Banga soup made of?

Banga soup is made of assorted meats, seafood, fresh fish, dry fish, vegetables, aromatics, and, most importantly, the extract from the seeds of raw palm kernel fruit.

Is palm butter soup the same as Banga?

Yes. Palm butter soup is also known as palm nut soup or Banga soup.

Can you reuse Banga sticks?

Absolutely! Rinse and dry them out, then store them in the fridge.

Banga Soup Recipe (Delta-Style Palm Nut Soup) (20)

Banga Soup

Yield: 3-4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Banga soup is a rich and hearty palm nut soup that's very popular in West Africa. Here's how to make the easy Delta version, best served with starch.

Instructions

  1. Add palm nut concentrate and 4 to 5 cups of water to a pot. Stir to combine.
  2. Add 1 to 2 Oburunbebe sticks to the pot.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not over, but you can use a splatter guard.
  4. Once the palm oil rises to the top, add the crayfish, Scotch bonnet peppers, and blended onion. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the stockfish. Continue cooking over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Once the Banga soup thickens, stir in the Banga spice, seasoning cube, and salt.
  7. After letting the soup cook for 10 more minutes, add the Beletete leaves and catfish so the latter won't get too soft and fall apart as you stir the soup.
  8. Continue cooking on low-medium heat for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve your Banga soup with starch, rice, boiled yam, plantain, or your choice of swallow.

Notes

  • Depending on how dry your stockfish is, soak it for a few hours beforehand to soften it.
  • Wait until the very end of the preparation to add more salt. As the Banga soup thickens, it will get more flavorful. You don't want it to get too salty.
  • Feel free to discard some of the palm oil that rises on the top of the soup. You can also save it to make starch. Some of my best-tasting banga and starch combos are from when I used excess palm oil to prepare starch. 🙌🏾
  • Want to impress your family, friends, or, *cough*, in-laws? Serve this soup in a traditional clay pot! The starch can go on a regular ceramic plate.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 237Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 25g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

Banga soup is surprisingly easy to make for something so rich and nourishing.

This is your sign to try this palm nut soup and see why it’s a West African favorite.

Enjoy it with swallow, rice, or plantain for a hearty and satisfying meal. Creamy and brimming with delicious bold flavors, Banga soup is definitely one of the best soups you can start with if you haven’t tried West African cuisine before.

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I hope you liked this easy Nigerian Banga soup recipe.

For more African food ideas, check out our complete list of Nigerian food. Here are a few of my favorite African soups:

  • Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)
  • Black Soup (Nigerian Efirin Soup)
  • Edikaikong Soup (Edikang Ikong Soup Recipe)
  • Pounded Yam and Egusi Soup
  • Oha Soup (Ofe Oha)
Banga Soup Recipe (Delta-Style Palm Nut Soup) (2024)

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