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.
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.
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!