How To Prepare Ofe Akwu/Banga Soup/Stew



Florence Uwaeme

Nigeria is a country of diverse ethnicity and culture. Every one of these ethnicities and tribes has its own delicacies that are exclusive to them alone. in fact, you could tell someone’s ethnicity by the type of food they enjoy eating. Just like one’s ethnicity can be known by a person’s dressing, there are meals that are exclusive to different ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Ofe Akwu as it is popularly called in the south-eastern part of Nigeria is also known as Banga soup/stew in the south-southern part of the country. Ofe Akwu gives your taste buds this alluring satisfaction that resonates with your peace of mind. Please, it can’t be enjoyed while in a hurry. As Ofe Akwu, it could be eaten with boiled white rice or fufu while as Banga soup, it could be downed with starch, Semolina, garri, fufu, and other swallows.

The ingredients for preparing Ofe Akwu or Banga soup
1. Palm fruit/ tinned palm fruit concentrate
2. Beef
3. Dry fish
4. Stockfish
5. Crayfish
6. Ogiri Okpei
7. Salt
8. Chilli pepper
9. Onion bulb
10. Vegetables: Scent leaf for South-eastern style, dried and crushed bitter leaf for south-southern style

Preparation

Step 1
Prior to the preparation proper, if you are using the palm fruit, you need to extract the concentrate from the palm fruit. This is done after cooking the palm fruit for an hour or more. Once the palm fruit becomes soft, it is ready for extraction. For the extraction, pour the cooked palm fruit into a mortar and pound gently in order not to break the kernel. Use warm water to mix after pounding. Using the smallest sized sieve eye to separate the concentrate from the chaff and palm kernel. Depending on the size of your sieve eye, it is advisable to sieve at least three times to afford to encounter the chaff while enjoying your meal.

Steam your beef, dry fish and stockfish with onion, pepper, seasoning cube to taste. Ensure that you don’t add too much water while steaming. Blend your pepper and crayfish, chop your onion and scent leaf. Pound your ogiri and set them apart.

Step 2
Pour the palm fruit concentrate into a pot, cook with high heat. Cook until you can see well-formed oil on top of the concentrate. The longer it cooks, the thicker it becomes, so, depending on how you like your stew, you should know when to add your steamed beef. Before adding your beef and all, first add the ogiri okpei, chopped onion, blended crayfish and pepper then allow it to simmer for 20 seconds then add your steamed meat and fish. Pour in your scent leaf or crushed bitter-leaf. Allow it simmer for some seconds.

There you have yourself a delicious, mouth-watering pot of ofe akwu goodness is ready for your savouring pleasure. Always serve hot.