What are the spices used for cooking native Banga soup?
This is one question I get from friends and subscribers. Most of them complain that the Igbo's Ofe Akwu doesn't have similar taste to the Banga soup they have eaten at parties or restaurants.
The fact is that Ofe Akwu and Banga soup are both Nigerian Soups made with the concentrated extract from Palm fruits/Palm nuts, but the spices used for cooking Banga soup differs a lot from that used for Ofe Akwu.
While Ofe Akwu is usually served with boiled White Rice and Boiled Yams, Banga soup is served with fufu meals, starch(Usi), Eba, Amala , Tuwo Masara, Wheat meal and other Nigerian Bolus meals.
So here are a few of the Banga Soup Spices:
* Oburunbebe stick: this brown herbal stick makes a big difference in the taste and aroma of the Banga soup. It is usually added towards the end of the soup making process and left for 10 minutes ,so that the flavour is infused into the soup.Oburunbebe stick can be re-utilized for subsequent cooking.
* Aidan Fruit (Uyayak, Tyko or yanghanyanghan) : The skin of this fruit is used for preparing Banga soup. It is ground to powder and added to soups.
The scientific name is Tetrapleura tetraptera
*Rohojie: this is a tiny brown seed that is ground or pounded with the Aidan fruit to give the banga soup its unique flavour and taste.
*Obeletientien : this is a spice used for garnishing . It actually doesnt add any extra taste to the soup, but helps complete the foods presentation and only a little is used.Dried mint leaves can be used as a substitute.
All these spices can be found at the local markets or African stores if you live outside Nigeria.
By Nky Lily Lete