Mbanga/Palmnut Soup – a West African soup made from heavily pounding the palm nut fruit to extract the palm nut fruit pulp simmered in assorted meat, spices and bitter leaf or spinach. So rich and hearty!
Palm oil has a pretty bad reputation. Why? Some would say it is eco- unfriendly and unhealthy for the human body ; while others would refute this argument. `They say palm oil is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, more than carrots and tomatoes and it is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world. Which side you agree; there is no denying that this soup is tasty and palm oil is inherent in it. So eat in moderation!
So what is banga soup aka mbanga soup/palm nut soup? It is a rich and hearty sauce that is cooked in West Africa- made from heavily pounding the palm nut fruit to extract the palm nut fruit pulp. This process should be done carefully, without breaking the kernels/nut inside the fruit. Then, the pulp is slowly simmered with an assortment of meats (smoked and fresh) crayfish, spices and studded with bitter leaf or spinach.
This palate pleasing soup has become a relatively easy soup to make now, because the palm nut fruit has been extracted already and put in a can. All you need is- concentrated palm nut canned pulp. The plam nut canned pulp , however, is only available in African, Caribbean stores and online .
In most parts of West African this soup is served with rice or any starchy side but in Cameroon it would be a crime to serve this dish without kwacoco – it’s time honored mate.
- 1 can of concentrated pulp
- 2 pounds meat
- ½ pound smoked fish
- ½ cup crayfish
- 1 tablespoon Maggi or bouillon granules
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- In medium –sized sauce pan boil meat seasoned with salt( garlic salt ), smoked paprika, pepper , onions until tender approximately 30 -40 minutes. You can shorten this process in half by using a pressure cooker. Reserve chicken stock.
- Pour contents of palm nut cream concentrate into a large pot. Add the meat stock (about 3- 4 cups) smoked fish, meat, crayfish, Maggie and salt. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes
- Throw in the chopped spinach, adjust for soup consistency. Simmer for 2 for minutes.
- Adjust for salt and pepper.