Soup from Nigeria

One of the goals of Triangle Learning Community (TLC) is to mentor students to become empathetic global citizens. One way we will do this is by sampling cultures from around the world. We are fortunate that Karina, TLC’s 11-year-old correspondent in Nigeria, has shared this report about how to make Banga Soup. Her account includes a series of excellent pictures she took that bring the cooking process to life. Please leave any comments/questions for Karina in the comments section below.

For earlier posts by Karina, and to get context about where Ife is located, see Karina’s introductory post, and her post about being an American kid in Nigeria.

Here’s Karina:

Recently, I was at a family friend’s house in Ife, professor and Mrs. Ako.  Mrs. Ako is a great cook and she showed me how she prepares Banga Soup, a traditional dish from the Niger Delta (most Nigerians call the Niger Delta “south south”). I will show you how Banga Soup is made in twelve steps.

Step 1: Sort Palm Kernels.


Palm kernels are the fruit of the palm tree.  Palm trees are indigenous to the equator.

palm tree

Mrs. Ako purchased these palm kernels in the local market.

Step 2: Wash the Palm Kernels.

Next, Mrs. Ako brought the palm kernels to the sink so she could wash off any dirt that may be on them.

Step 3: Boil the Palm Kernels.


Mrs. Ako brought out her pot so she could boil the palm kernels to soften them.

Step 4: Pop Palm Kernels.

When the palm kernels are soft enough to pop in your fingers the kernels are ready for pounding.

Step 5: Pounding Palm Kernels in Mortar and Pestle.


Next, Mrs. Ako took out her mortar and pestle and lightly pounded the palm kernels to soften them.

Step 6: Squeeze out Palm Kernel Juice.

After pounding, Mrs. Ako squeezed out the palm kernel juice.


Step 7: Cook Palm Kernel Juice.


After straining the palm kernel juice and taking out all the left over palm kernel skins, Mrs. Ako cooked the juice on low heat until it bubbled.

Part 8: Add Seasonings.


Mrs. Ako then added atayko and egidge, the two main seasonings for the Banga Soup.

Atayko smells like cinnamon and egidge has a very strong taste. Normally, Mrs. Ako would have already mixed the spices, but so that we could see the process from scratch, she started with them unmixed (pictured above).

Step 9: Add Catfish


Mrs. Ako added fresh catfish to the Banga Soup. She said you can also make Banga Soup with dried fish, any other meat you like, or without meat.

Step 10: Add Onions.


After adding the catfish Mrs. Ako added onions to the soup.

Step 11: Wait to Cook.


Mrs. Ako and I waited for the Banga Soup to cook.  It felt like it took an hour but maybe I was just hungry, I don’t know.

Step 12: The Banga Soup is Finished.

After the Banga Soup finished cooking, Mrs.Ako made some rice to eat with the soup. Banga Soup can be eaten with pounded yam or any other starches (pounded yam is a food staple of South West Nigeria).

Finally, Eat it!


When the Banga Soup was finally finished it was time to eat. The Banga Soup had a cinnamon taste and was sort of peppery, but was very tasty. In the Niger Delta where professor and Mrs. Ako are from Banga Soup can be eaten for lunch or dinner and is eaten a lot.

Over and Out!

About Steve Goldberg

After teaching high school history for more than two decades, I am now focusing on Holocaust education. Specifically, I am working to tell the story of Holocaust survivor Abe Piasek -- more details are available at
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3 Responses to Soup from Nigeria

  1. K.J H-R says:

    This is a reply to Steve’s question he asked via email. He asked how often do people in ife go out for dinner versus stay home and cook.
    In Nigeria they do not eat out as we do in the us but they do have a lot of road food or snacky food. For example, if someone was at work they would grab something for lunch but not sit down and eat it. It is also a class thing like in big city’s the middle to upper middle class do eat out but the lower to working class usually do not eat out much.

  2. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker
    who had been conducting a little research on
    this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

  3. Pingback: MRD 3 horseback DHS copy - Daily News

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