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How to make Banga soup

How to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)|Naija Number 1 Soup

Our lunch inspiration is Banga soup or Ofe Akwu as it is called in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. Ofe Akwu can also be referred to as ‘Palm Fruit soup’. This soup is also eaten by people in the Niger Delta area. Here's how to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu).

Hello, Today on how to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu) as it is called in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. Banga Soup or Ofe Akwu can also be referred to as ‘Palm Fruit soup’. This soup is also eaten by people in the Niger Delta area. Here’s how to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu). Let’s get started! 


While both Ofe Akwu and Banga Soup are made with Palm Nut Fruit Concentrate and prepared in similar ways, these two soups come from different parts of Nigeria and have distinct flavors.

Ofe Akwu is normally served with white rice, while Banga Soup is served with starch ( pronounced stash by the Niger Deltans. It is an eba kind of swallow  made from cassava).

Scent leaves ( nchoanwu in Igbo language) is used in the preparation of Ofe Akwu, while Bitter leaves ( Onugbu ) is used in the preparation of Banga Soup.

Banga Soup is made with special seasonings that give it the distinctive flavor of Banga soup. Those special spices aren’t needed for Ofe Akwu.

Because of the Niger Delta’s geographical location. Banga Soup is usually made with seafood. Smoked meats are common among Igbos when making Ofe Akwu.


Ofe Akwu can be served with the following sides.

  1. Plain white rice
  2. White rice and veggies
  3. Plain white rice and beans
  4. White rice – Beans – Fried or boiled Plantain combo
  5. You can even eat it with any swallow food of your choice like pounded yam or eba

Banga Soup or Ofe Akwwu Prep Time:  20 MINUTES |Cook Time: 35 MINUTES |Difficulty: EASY

Ingredients How to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)

  • Beef
  • 1 kilogram of palm fruits or 800 grams of tinned palm fruit concentrate
  • Dried crushed bitter-leaves or scent leaves
  • 2 medium onion bulbs
  • Dry fish
  • 2 tablespoons of ground crayfish
  • Locust beans
  • Chili pepper
  • Seasoning cube
  • Salt
How to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)
How to make Banga soup

Recipe to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)

To learn How to make Banga soup, follow these steps…

  • Before you start cooking your Banga soup, prepare your ingredients. Extract your concentrated palm oil from your palm fruits, if you are using the palm fruits. If you are using the concentrated tinned palm fruit oil, then, open your tin and set it aside.
  • Place your washed beef in a saucepan, add your dry fish, seasoning cubes, 1 diced onion bulb and some water. Cook until it’s done.
  • Wash and cut your scent leaves or use your dried and crushed bitter leaves, depending on your preference. You can, however, choose to cook your Banga soup without any vegetables.
  • Grind your crayfish, locust beans, and pepper. Dice the remaining onion bulb and set it aside.
  • Place your pot of palm oil extract on high heat and cook until red oil comes up to the surface of the Banga. If the soup is not as thick as you want it to be, then cook until it thickens.
  • Add your cooked beef, dry fish and stock to the soup. Also, add your ground crayfish and pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add your scent leaves or dried and crushed bitter leaves to the soup. Add your salt at this point and leave to simmer for about 2 minutes.

Your Banga soup is ready to eat. But, if you are using tinned concentrated palm fruit, simply add it to your cooked fish and beef with the stock and follow the remaining steps to make your Banga soup.

How to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)
How to make Banga soup

FAQS How to make Banga soup (Ofe Akwu)

Q. Can Ofe Akwu be made with Palm oil?

A. No. Ofe Akwu is made from palm fruits Concentrate, a combination of palm oil and palm fruit cream. Making this soup with only palm oil won’t yield the same result. It would be like eating just oil. The cream helps to thicken the soup as well.

Q. Is Ofe Akwu the same as Banga Soup?

A. Literally, Akwu and Banga is essentially Palm fruit in Igbo Language and Urhobo language respectively. Based on the literal meaning one would naturally think that they are one and the same soup but they are not. Each has its own unique taste based on the different spices used. For instance, some special herbs and ingredients like Beletientien, Irugege etc are used to make Banga soup while it is not used in Ofe Akwu. You can read more in the difference between the two soups further up in this post.

Q. I don’t live in Nigeria, what can I use as a substitute for Scent leaves?

A. Frozen scent leaves are sold in African stores abroad. But if you don’t find any. You can use either Basil or Parsley.

Q. Is Ofe Akwu Keto-friendly?

A. Yes it is. To get the Keto experience, endeavour to eat it with Cauliflower RiceCabbage Rice or Shirataki rice for a complete keto experience.

Do you have any more questions about this recipe? Please leave a comment below and I will gladly reply.

Did you like this recipe or find the information in this post useful? Please forward this recipe to your family and friends, as well as to your favourite Facebook page.

Moyo Olorunsola

Moyo is a linguist who loves writing and uses her platform to encourage others to stay active and positive with their health, food and wellness tips.

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