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Banga delicacy the Delta way

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BANGA is a special soup that is indigenous to the Deltans but also loved and enjoyed by people from Edo State and all of the Niger Delta. The soup can also make a wonderfully delicious dish when made with the addition of Okra (vegetable) and best served with eba/garri. However, Banga soup is ceremonially and most preferably eaten with a yellow thick starchy paste from cassava starch called “Usi” by the Urhobos as well as their Isoko and Okpe kinsmen. Non Urhobos prefer using Eba because eating with “Usi” is an indigenous craft (cutting starch with the fingers requires learning; unlike for eba).

Some ingredients for Banga soup

Ingredients|Serving: 8 Persons

  • Meat (1kg)
  • Crayfish (half cup)
  • Fresh prawn (one cup)
  • Fresh Palm Fruits (Banga) (8 cups)
  • Medium sized dry fish / smoked fish (1)
  • Red scotch bonnet pepper “Ata rodo” (8)
  • Ataiko (1 tbsp)
  • Irugege (1 teaspoon)
  • Oburunbebe Stick (Banga stick) (1)
  • Dried Beletientien leaves (half cup) or
  • Thinly sliced bitter leaves (half cup)
  • Seasoning cube
  • Periwinkles (1)
  • Salt to taste.

NOTE: You should use crushed dried beletientien leaves, also called atama leaf in Efik/Ibibio or thinly sliced bitter leaves.

 RECIPE

STEP1

Start by grinding the spices. Add them all together (ataiko, Irugege and a cup of crayfish), blend to powder. Blend the pepper also. Wash the dried or smoked fish and remove center bones.

STEP2

Wash and precook the prawn, use half cup of water, a cube of seasoning and a pinch of salt. Wash and cook your meat properly with seasoning and a pinch of salt. Cook the meat until it becomes soft, easy to chew and the water is almost dried. Add salt to taste and allow another three minutes. Set aside.

STEP3

Boil the palm fruit for 20 minutes, pound with a mortar and pestle, transfer into a bowl, add water and extract the juice. You will need about 6-8 cups of that palm fruit juice for this cooking. It should be thick. Use a sieve to strain the extract into your cooking pot, allow to boil for 15 minutes with the pot half-covered. It should be a lot thicker now.

STEP4

Add the cleaned dried fish, ground (crayfish, ataiko plus irugege), oburunbebe stick, precooked meat, ground pepper and salt to taste. Cover and allow another 10 minutes.

STEP5

Add the crushed dried beletientien leaves or thinly sliced bitter leaves, precooked prawn, periwinkles and one cube seasoning. Stir, cover and allow to simmer for three minutes. Here you are! Enjoy with starch, eba or fufu.

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