Palm fruit soup

Palm fruit soup is called many different things as you move across the west coast of Africa. In Cameroun there is a version called mbanga, over in Nigeria it is called many things and has several variations. The Efiks and Ibibios in the east call it atama soup, those from the Delta call it banga soup, then as you head towards Ghana you’ll hear it called abenkwan. You’ll see variations of this soup all the way to the Gambia. And, not stopping there, I found a Costa Rican recipe for Sopa de Pejibaye, again a Caribbean version of palm nut soup!  I must say, if you are looking to impress your oga, or oga-to-be, you can definitely whip this one up while wearing heels in the kitchen. He’ll be quite impressed. Thank me later.

As much as you can cook this soup from scratch, starting with the palm nuts I decided to go with a can of palm nut sauce. Much quicker and you get practically similar results. For a working and/or busy wife/mother, this is the way to go. Don’t feel guilty about it! There are many blog posts and YouTube videos out there on how to extract the sauce from palm nuts. Just Google it! 🙂 I must say that the one brand of palm fruit sauce I could get my hands on was made where? In Ghana. I know there are Nigerian versions on the grocery store shelves in Nigeria. I’m making it a point to find some. If you live overseas, check your local African or Asian food store for this. You can also find it on Amazon.

 Cooking this soup/stew is quite easy once you get all your ingredients together. For those who have been following my blog, you know what a stickler I am for prepping everything up front. Just makes the cooking part go faster so you can get the the eating.

I was surprised how quickly I was able to finish prepping and cooking this meal. Looks yum! Smells awesome! I added some spinach to my version. You can opt to leave out the greens or add in any greens of your choice. To turn this into atama soup, just add chopped atama leaves to it. You can also add in efo or ugwu leaves if you wish.

 Lovely! You can eat this with rice or with fufu, eba, semolina, pounded or boiled yam or other starch of your choosing.I made my version with fish – stock fish, smoked fish and fresh fish. Feel free to swap out the fresh fish and add in any sort of meat you wish.  I seen this done with chicken, beef, goat meat.  

 

Palm fruit soup is called many different things as you move across the west coast of Africa. In Cameroun there is a version called mbanga, over in Nigeria it is called many things and has several variations. The Efiks and Ibibios in the east call it atama soup, those from the Delta call it banga soup, then as you head towards Ghana you’ll hear it called abenkwan. You’ll see variations of this soup all the way to the Gambia. And, not stopping there, I found a Costa Rican recipe for Sopa de Pejibaye, again a Caribbean version of palm nut soup!  I must say, if you are looking to impress your oga, or oga-to-be, you can definitely whip this one up while wearing heels in the kitchen. He’ll be quite impressed. Thank me later.

As much as you can cook this soup from scratch, starting with the palm nuts I decided to go with a can of palm nut sauce. Much quicker and you get practically similar results. For a working and/or busy wife/mother, this is the way to go. Don’t feel guilty about it! There are many blog posts and YouTube videos out there on how to extract the sauce from palm nuts. Just Google it! 🙂 I must say that the one brand of palm fruit sauce I could get my hands on was made where? In Ghana. I know there are Nigerian versions on the grocery store shelves in Nigeria. I’m making it a point to find some. If you live overseas, check your local African or Asian food store for this. You can also find it on Amazon.

 Cooking this soup/stew is quite easy once you get all your ingredients together. For those who have been following my blog, you know what a stickler I am for prepping everything up front. Just makes the cooking part go faster so you can get the the eating.

I was surprised how quickly I was able to finish prepping and cooking this meal. Looks yum! Smells awesome! I added some spinach to my version. You can opt to leave out the greens or add in any greens of your choice. To turn this into atama soup, just add chopped atama leaves to it. You can also add in efo or ugwu leaves if you wish.

 Lovely! You can eat this with rice or with fufu, eba, semolina, pounded or boiled yam or other starch of your choosing.I made my version with fish – stock fish, smoked fish and fresh fish. Feel free to swap out the fresh fish and add in any sort of meat you wish.  I seen this done with chicken, beef, goat meat.  

 

Nigerian Palm Nut Soup
A popular soup/stew prepared in a variety of ways across West Africa
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Ingredients
  1. 1 400g can of palm nut sauce
  2. 1 large smoked fish
  3. 1/4 of a stock fish (3-4 pieces)
  4. 4 large tomatoes fresh tomatoes diced
  5. 1 large red bell pepper
  6. 2 medium onions
  7. 1-2 habanero peppers (to your taste)
  8. 1 cup ground crayfish
  9. 1 scent leaf (aka efirin, aka ntong) or fresh basil
  10. 4 cloves garlic
  11. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  12. 2 cooking cubes (I used gluten- yeast-free ones, but you can use any)
  13. 4 cloves garlic
  14. Totally Optional Spices (don't worry if you don't have access to this)
  15. 1 tsp Otaiko regeje
Instructions
  1. Prepare your smoked and stock fish
  2. Soak the smoked fish in hot water mixed with 1 tbs of salt for about 20 minutes
  3. Drain the water from the smoked fish, pour in fresh water and wash and de-bone the fish, rinse again and then set aside
  4. Place the stock fish in a bowl of hot water and leave to soak for 1 hour or longer if possible (this helps reduce the smell when cooking)
  5. Place the stockfish in a pan, cover with water, and sprinkle 1 tsp of salt. Cook the stock fish for 1 hour on medium heat until soft (your cooking time may vary so cook until the fish is soft)
  6. Once the stockfish is done, add in the smoked fish, ground crayfish, chopped habanero peppers, garlic, salt, stock cubes
  7. Add 1 cup of water and simmer
  8. Place the onions, red bell pepper and tomatoes in a blender with a quarter cup of water and blend
  9. Pour blended onions, red bell pepper and tomatoes into the pot with the other ingredients, along with the scent leaves (or basil) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes
  10. Pour in 400g of the palm nut sauce along with 1.5 litres of water, lower the heat and cover the pot. Let your soup simmer for another 15 minutes
  11. Add your fresh fish to the soup and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes (until the fish is done)
  12. If you choose to add some green vegetables, now is a good time to do it. You can add 1 cup of chopped efo or spinach
  13. Continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes and then turn off the heat
  14. Serve alone or along with a carb of your choice (rice, pounded yam, garri, semolina, farina, you name it)
  15. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Note: You can add any meat to this soup. You can season and cook your meat separately and add it along with the stock at the very beginning
My Belle Don Full http://www.mybelledonfull.com/

11 Comments

  1. When i bump into a food blog(as i did today), i usually go through everything and pls permit me to say that i am impressed. I have never cooked banga soup b4 cos wen i tink of d stress my mum goes tru bak den b4 we cld eat banga soup, i’m always like ‘abeg oda soup dey wey i fit cook’ Lol. That is y i am surprised that there’s palmnut sauce. I hope i can find it in any of the grocery stores we have in lagos. Will definitely giv a try if i lay my hands on it.

    • Madam Chef

      It’s so easy and you can find cans of this stuff in your local grocery story. Try Shoprite or Spar if there is one near you.

  2. I had no idea banga soup had so many different names and was made in other West African countries, thanks for the lesson!

  3. Wow. Your photos though… simply breathtaking!!

  4. Wow…I gotta find that palmnut sauce asap!

  5. Thanks for adding the fact you can buy the canned version online. That is prbably where I am going to pick mine up from 🙂 But if I was to pick actual palm nuts, how do I tell whether they are ready for cooking or “ripe”?

    • 🙂 Online stores are a beautiful thing. They make lots of ingredients more accessible. Especially if you are far away from the motherland.

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