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20140410_180205

Hi people!

Easter is almost here and it’s usually a time of sharing with loved ones, friends and family. Today’s recipe is something we can enjoy with loved ones. It’s a traditional Ibo dish used in eating rice, Delta state has exact same dish but with different spices and is used to eat starch. Popularly known as Banga soup in both Anambra and Delta, Abia probably eats it too but it’s mainly an Anambra/Delta dish.

So, why did I call it Banga of life? Here’s why- it contains too many things not to be named that! 🙂 crabs, dry fish,  goat meat and chicken need I say more? You will have to agree this is the sort of stew that makes adults over eat. No matter your tribe or state of origin, please make this dish come Sunday and you will enrich a soul that has been fasting these past 4 weeks including our Caro who finally dropped out 😀 .

Here goes…

Ingredients : ( serves 10 )

1 derica fresh palm fruit (akwu/banga)

8 pieces goat meat

5 pieces chicken

4 fresh crabs

2 pieces fleshy dry fish (mangala)

3 large firm tomatoes

3 large tatashe

8 atarodo (red scotch bonnet )

4 fresh shombo (local chilli )

1 cup whole crayfish

1 tablespoon ground uziza seeds

2 small balls okpei (fermented locust beans-Ibo style)

Smal bunch Ugu leaves (about 20 pumpkin leaves )

Handful Nchuanwu ( scent leaf )

Handful fresh crurry leaves

1 teaspoon dry Cameroon pepper

1 Maggi crayfish cube

2 Maggi cubes

Salt to taste

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Method :

Wash the palm fruit and boil with enough water covering it for 1 hour.

While the palm fruit is boiling,  blend  tomato,  atarodo,  tatashe, shombo,  okpei and crayfish together with 1 1/2 cups of water until smooth.

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Boil 2 litres of water in a large kettle. Use some of it to soak the dry fish with a little salt. Set remaining hot water aside. (See tips at the end of post)

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Wash the crabs and remove the top shell and gills. The one I bought had eggs in them, so I didn’t discard them.

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Wash all the leafs and set aside, don’t slice them yet.

Wash the goat meat with salt to rid it of sand, wash the chicken as well and place in a pot. Season with the cameroon pepper,  2 Maggi cubes and salt to taste. All meat boil for a while before adding water gradually.

Once meat is cooked, turn off heat.

Once the palm fruits are soft, drain and discard cooking water. Set a metal colander over the medium sized pot you intend using for the Banga stew.

Pound in a mortar until all the fibre around the nuts come off. Pour reserved hot water over kernels, mix together with metal spoon then drain pulp into metal colander. Return the palm kernels along with its fibre into the mortar, pound a little more, pour hot water into it, mix and drain again. You can repeat the process a third time so you are sure all the juicy goodness is drained from the palm fruit. The third time pulp won’t be as thick as the first but that’s fine.

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Place the pot of palm fruit juice/pulp on medium heat and add the crayfish blend into it. Cover and allow it boil for at least 30-45 minutes or till the entire juice reduces in half and starts to thicken.

Add a tablespoon ground uziza seeds, Maggi crayfish cube,  crabs and the cooked meat along with its stock. Let it boil for another 15 minutes. Leave the pot open.

Check for salt and add more dry Cameroon pepper if you want.

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Slice vegetables- Ugu, curry leaves and Nchuanwu thinly and add to the stew. Let it simmer for another 2 minutes then turn off heat.

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Serve with rice hot!

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Have a feast this easter!

Azu 🙂 .

*Tips: most times, dry fish comes with fish eating bugs in them, so washing with hot water and salt is important.  If nothing falls out of the fish then perhaps you can add it whole but its advisable to break it up just to be safe.

It’s best to use hot water to juice the palm fruit so you get as much as possible from the fruits.

It’s also advisable you use metal spoons and colander, makes for easy clean up after cooking.