BN Cuisine With Dooney’s Kitchen: Pounded Yam & Banga Soup the Easy Way

My heritage is half Delta, half Yoruba, so of course, cooking Banga Soup is in my genes. Is it a complicated dish? Yes and No. Using Dooney’s Kitchen Tips and Cheats I’ll guide you through it.

Traditionally Banga soup is made with fresh fish, especially catfish. My father would swear up and down about the origins of Banga Soup, Urhobo to be specific. Whoever lays claim to it, one thing is certain, it came from an area where fresh fish was a staple of the local cuisine. So if you see a recipe using meat, personal preference maybe but I’m a modern cook, who respects tradition.

For my recipes, I don’t just list ingredients, but I slip in why I use them and how to delicately balance the flavours. Nigerian food may be rustic in nature, but the flavour profile stays rich and deep.

Fish

1. Catfish – I love Catfish, and I’ve noticed that it’s usually not cooked properly. Foodie peeve alert!!! Like most fish/seafood, its flavour is delicate, and with so many bold flavours coming together in our soups, the flavour of catfish is mostly lost. One of the ways I prevent this, is to use use what I call flavour boosters from the same food family

Below are my flavour boosters:

2. Smoked Eja Osan (locally called). Its my choice, because it usually stays intact, unlike some other dried fish that disintegrate on cooking
3. Smoked prawns or Eja Sawa
4. Periwinkle
5. Ground crayfish (optional – I’ll explain why later)
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #1 – Any dried fish would do, if you can’t find Eja Osan. You may wonder why I didn’t use stockfish? Its flavour is too strong

Spices
Uyayak (Aidan fruit)
Rogojie
Tyko
Obunrubebe stick

I listed this for the food purists. Anyone reading this would think, where in the world will I find these spices? Here comes a Dooney’s Kitchen cheat. Besides the difficulty in sourcing, local spices can be quite tricky to combine. So, if you find a trusted seller whether at home or abroad, ask her to blend all the spices for you or buy pre packed Banga Spices from the African food store. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #2 - I would advise you make a very small batch for starters, to test the potency of the pre packed Banga Spice

Dried Vegetables
Your choice ranges from:
Atama
Bitter leaf
Obeletientien leaf
I’ll be using dried Atama as a personal preference. My grandma would insist on bitter leaf though

Palm Kernel

Whole Palm nuts or canned Palm  nut cream
If you are brave enough, use the nuts and start from scratch. Dooney’s Kitchen Cheat – Use the canned version. Same difference! (one of the very few instances I’ll advise using a canned version over starting from scratch)

Condiments and Seasoning
Salt
Seasoning cubes (preferred: Knorr Chicken)
Red Onion
Rodo (scotch bonnet/habanero pepper)
Tatashe (red bell pepper)

Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking Time: a little over 30 minutes

Dooney’s Kitchen tip #3: NEVER stir with a cooking spoon. Simply shake the pot in a circular motion. You don’t want to break down any of the components.

So here we go

1. Blend one bell pepper, scotch bonnet(s), and one red onion, boil until it thickens.
2. For this recipe, I am using one medium sized catfish cut into 5 pieces. So, add 1 cup of palm cream and 1 cup of hot water. Let it cook for 5 minutes, then add, shredded Eja Osan and Smoked prawns (Why now? To soften, and infuse their flavours into the soup)
Dooney’s Kitchen tip #4 – Rinse the smoked prawns, dry it with a clean dish towel, dry roast it for 1minute in a frying pan to intensify the flavour
3. Let the palm nut cream cook for another 5 minutes until oil floats to the surface (add half a cup of hot water if needed)
4. Add 2 tablespoons of ground spices (depending on your taste, you may prefer a little more – let your tastebuds guide you). Which will thicken the soup very quickly
5. Add 1 cup of periwinkles and 1 small/medium Uyayak
6. Add your seasoning cubes (I prefer to use 2 Knorr chicken cubes) and salt
7. Let this cook for another 5 – 7 minutes whilst the aroma of the spices wafts into your kitchen
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #5 – knowing when to add the catfish isn’t necessarily about timing. Keep tasting in short intervals, until you get to the point where you can taste the ingredients in perfect sync i.e. the palm nut cream, eja osan, smoked prawns, the spices, seasoning cube, salt etc. Trust me, you’ll be able to tell
8. Add the catfish. Shake the pot in circular motions till the soup coats the catfish
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #6– Cover the pot and turn down the heat to low immediately you add the catfish because intense heat destroys the flavour. You may wish to add half a cup of hot water if the soup is too thick
9. Let the fish simmer for 10 minutes. Halfway through, crush a handful of the dried leaf of your choice in your palm and add to the pot.
10. Turn off the heat, and simply let it sit for a few more minutes.
You would taste the catfish flavour by now. It may be subtle or strong, depending on the concentration of the spices, and the balance of the other ingredients.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #7 – Well, this is grandma’s tip. She always said leave Banga Soup to sit for at least an hour, and then reheat shortly before serving. Who am I to argue?

You may ask, Dunni, you left out the crayfish? No, I didn’t. Though crayfish is the holy grail of most Nigerian soups, when I cook Banga soup, I leave it out. After many trials, I found that it overpowers the catfish. If you are addicted to the taste of crayfish, and you can’t do without it in your soup. By all means add it. What do you do with any leftover palm nut cream? Freeze it. It can last for months.

Pounded Yam

Traditionally, Banga soup is eaten with Starch. I could go down that route, but I have something exciting to introduce today. Pounded yam made extra super easy! No, I’m not talking about flour. I mean authentic pounded yam made with 100% yam. Everybody knows that the typical Nigerian will always pick FRESHLY pounded yams over poundo flour, so my fellow BellaNaijarians you no longer need a mortar and pestle! In fact you also don’t need to suffer needlessly with flour (not to mention the unknown ingredients in it). No matter where you live – Lagos, Nigeria or Queensland, Australia, all you simply need is, wait for it (cue James Bond tune playing in the background) A FOOD PROCESSOR!!!

Turning your nose up already? Let me explain. Think of dough used in baking. It’s soft, its smooth and it can be stretchy/elastic. Think of pounded yam, and you’ll apply those same words, no? So, the dough blade of a food processor will produce the same result with boiled yam.

Method

Attach the dough blade to your food processor, put in 4 – 5 small pieces of yam straight from the boiling pot, press the button and simply watch magic happen. Let it spin for a 30 seconds – 1 minute and you’ll have smooth, silky, elastic pounded yam with no lumps. TRUST ME! Once you taste this, you will NEVER (somebody say N.E.V.E.R) go back to flour again.

So, let’s start a Dooney’s Kitchen revolution – We are never eating poundo flour again. Can I get an AMEN!

Before

Before

AFTER!!!

So, there you have it, Banga soup served with hot Pounded Yam.

I’ll hope you’ll try this out, especially making pounded yam in a food processor. Don’t panic if your first trial doesn’t turn out well, I’ll suggest start with 2 – 3 pieces of yam.

Email  me your pictures – dunni_obata(at)dooneyskitchen(dot)com when you do try it out, and I’ll add it to the blog.

On a final note, if any non-Nigerian is inquisitive about Banga soup, simply tell them it’s a Nigerian curry made with palm nuts. I’m afraid that’s the best answer I could come up with on short notice. I’m still scratching my head trying to explain Eba. Any thoughts?
_________________________________________________________________________________
Dunni Obata is an IT Project Manager by day and a cook the rest of the time. She loves entertainment and one of her bad habits is feeding people. When she’s not cooking, she’s watching the Food Network. Dunni is very passionate about Nigerian food and believes they have a lot to offer globally. Visit her blog – www.dooneyskitchen.com

75 Comments on BN Cuisine With Dooney’s Kitchen: Pounded Yam & Banga Soup the Easy Way
  • Eniyan March 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    drools on computer!

  • ij March 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    i would never have thought that a food processor could do that, you learn everyday honestly

    • Fifi March 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      I was about to same thing good bye poundo mix flour hello food processor…

  • etiosa March 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I wasn’t aware you could use a mixer to make pounded yam! Cool. Thanks. For teaching me that.

  • Lafunky March 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I’m salivating. One of my bad habits is also feeding people/eating and eating!
    Thanks for the tip, re: food processor/making pounded yam. I’m going to try it but it’s not going to be regular. I sometimes like preparing my foods very quickly. Powdered pounded yam is quick to prepare.

  • Funmi March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    That food processor idea is GENIUS. I never ever thought of that.

  • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Hello, fellow foodies, yes it works. Foodie (scouts) honour. I’ve just posted step by step instructions on the blog (www.dooneyskitchen.com) with pictures. @Lafunky – in the time it will take you to boil water and turn the flour, you’ll do the same using the real thing. Once the yam slices are soft, the dough blade mixes in seconds.

    • Non professional opinion March 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      The pounded yam tip is pure gold. My husband asked me why I have ever made him pounded yam from scratch. I couldn’t stop laughing.. I might treat him to this effortless version. Next stop- your blog!

      • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Thank you for your comment. Well, you have no excuse now, if he reads Bella Naija

    • www.dprodigaldaughter.com is all about faith, God, Love, Relationships, Sex and Many more.. Stop by for some interesting articles March 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      You are an angel! I love it!

      dprodigaldaughter.com

    • Lafunky March 29, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you. I will try it.

    • M April 3, 2013 at 6:04 am

      Kisses I de cook Banga your way this weekend

  • Temizzy March 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    @Dunni you are a life saver, food processor for pounded yam, Amen. Please what kind of processor are you using cos i really dont know which to buy. There are too many out there in the market and i dont want to make a mistake.

    your Truly,
    Another Foodie

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      I have a Kenwood Food Processor. It was given to me as a birthday present, so I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. Its almost 2years old now, and it has done everything you can think of. From making coleslaw, salads, vinaigrettes, baking, slicing, shredding, grating, etc. It has 28 functions plus a blender jug.

  • Dee March 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    wow, a food processor can do that! I’ll try it out today. Thanks so much for this huge tip

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      You are welcome. I hope you try it out.

  • Funke March 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Obeletientien! Hahaha! You know who this is!

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Yes dear. Add Oburunbebe to the comic list too.

  • jcsgrl March 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Wow too many ingredients and steps for the banga soup but I’ll try the poundo yam. Hope it turns out well

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      The ingredients are the basics you will find in most Nigerian Soups, i.e. dried fish, blended pepper, vegetables etc. Cooking is personal, so you can add or remove whatever you want. Regarding the spices, you can take the Dooney’s Kitchen Cheats way out and buy it pre-blended. As for the dried vegetables, you only need one. I hope this helps. Banga Soup is really delicious.

    • Idak April 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      if you find the steps too much, try ‘take away’ :-)

  • aunty March 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    boy, am i glad i read this!!!

  • Aisha March 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Yup, even using the Ninja Kitchen system will make pounded yam that’s supple and stretchy. Just try any good food processor.
    Love your blog, Dunni.

  • nunu March 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Is the food processor the same as blender? I tink am confused here

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      No, it isn’t, but you will find that most of them come with a blender jug as one of the attachments. So, if you are considering buying a blender, why don’t you buy a food processor that comes with a blender jug. 2 for the price of 1

  • sideeyeblankstare March 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    OMG tx for the food processor poundo tip. plsplspls could u do a video? and 2ndly could u give the botanical names for those spices and herbs? – that way I can source them online. tx

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      I’ll see about doing a video, but I’ve written up the steps in great detail with pictures too, so you should be fine. Errrrrr, about the botanical names of the spices as @Funke said above, its for a good laugh. I’ll check though, and post it as a comment. Personally, I have a Delta woman in Ikeja who blends the spices for me. I have been using her for years. I have pictures of each of the ingredients I used, including the cooking process. I will upload them on the blog shortly. I hope this helps.

  • spicy March 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    awww my fellow foodie! banga is still my favorite nigerian soup o kai! but food processor and yam? i have to try that this weekend :)

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Please try it out. Honestly, no one has come back yet with a negative response. Your first trial may be dicey. I have posted step by step instructions on the blog, with the mistakes I encountered on my first try. So, that should help. If you still face problems on your second try, send me an email with the mistakes you made. I’ll try and walk you through it.

  • noni March 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks for teaching us something new. Your blog is fab !

  • raffy March 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I remember the 1st time i made Banga soup&nailed it (dats wat i was told) its a very delicious soup,doe fattening&abt d food processor,thanks 4d tip Dunni…
    Me love cooking,so i am excited abt trying dis method out.
    Happy Easter everyone!

  • Fokasibe March 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Can I just say I love you for this Pounded yam tip?

    I am off to yours! :D

  • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you all for your kind comments. As its the Easter holidays. Surprise your guests with authentic pounded yam.

  • fofo March 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Well done! Banga! never tried it but I heard is really tasty. yep the food processor makes a lot of sense in place of the mortar and pestle . I detest those powdered pounded yam, the real yam is the best bet

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      ” I detest those powdered pounded yam, the real yam is the best bet”. Can I get an AMEN!!!

  • RUTHB March 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IM GOING TO TRY THIS OOH!

  • OBASEKI SARAH March 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    pls o… can i use dry leaf 4 dryfish banga soup?

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      I’m not sure I understand your question. What kind of dry leaf are you talking about? Yes, you can use any dry fish you find in the market. I just prefer Eja Osan because I don’t like seeing fish disintegrate in soup.

  • Abana March 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I am salivating. This is the best and most relatable BN cuisine post I have read. I am now so hungry.

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you for the word relatable. 9ja food has a lot to offer, and we must tell the world, our food is awesome.

  • OmoMakun March 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Its only 9 in the morning over here and I’m ready to eat that Pounded Yam and Banga soup right now! Thanks for this article….I will try the yam in the processor instead of using the pounded yam flour…You rock!

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Don’t worry, once you start, you can even have pounded yam at midnight, if your belly will allow. Lol

  • nawaooo March 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I didnt know now that DELTA is now a tribe, i feel sorry for this generation, but your food loooks delcious, and if i ask you what your native tongue is , please dont say delta and yoruba because that would be worst.

    • Young blood March 30, 2013 at 12:27 am

      Nawaooo or whoever you are you have a problem reading English….feel sorry for yourself first agbaya

  • Miss Pepeye March 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Dunni, you’re a life saver. Am I glad I clicked on this. Off to buy a food processor soon as I move into my own place in a few weeks. Thanks. Will check out your blog in a bit.

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Please do. You will never eat poundo flour again

  • Joshua March 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Just as Dunni has found a cheat-mode for pounded yam, may God let down the secret of turning expression to pure brazillian/peruvian hair unto me…AMEN!

    • Joshua March 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I should not forget to say well done Dunni…how many people finished the ‘Mr Turkey’ on ? e enter my eye oooo … all the eatries will soon be in trouble … yeparipa

    • Hope March 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      LOL. You’re silly.

      Dunni, your blog looks great! Already bookmarked!

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Let us know o, when you find the secret.

      • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm

        Thank you. 10 adults demolished Mr Turkey with lots of leftovers.

  • GreenDiamond March 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    U can get the biggest size for N70,000 at cash nd carry I don’t know how much d smallest is but mehn u just made me more hungry yo!!!

  • jamila musa March 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    ohh dunni! cant thank u enough! you’re a life saver! finding out u can use a food processor to make poundo yam is my highlight of the day! :D plus thanks for the steps in making banga soup. mwah

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      You are very welcome. I’m glad I made your day. Happy Easter

  • Tess March 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Nice recipe, will try it one of these days. I concur with Dunni, there is absolutely no difference between physically pounded yam via mortar and pestle, and pounded yam made via the use of a food processor. My mum used to use her kenwood mixer to make pounded yam, and as a kid it was always one of the best pounded yam I ever tasted! Now, the only problem for me is where I’ll find correct Naija yam in this mid-western part of obodo oyinbo land wey I dey live.

    • Dunni Obata March 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Can I suggest you ask friends who live in bigger cities to run an errand for you? They can buy you yams, package in a carton and ship it to you via courier. Yams are not perishable, so it should be fine. It is very common to have friends do that for you where I live.

    • zsa zsa March 30, 2013 at 6:14 am

      You just read my mind. I just need to make a 25 minute drive to get some yam which may or may not be “correct” yam….i miss my country.

      Excellent idea o! Is there anything the food processor cannot do?? Love it! Thanks Ms. Dunni!

      • Dunni Obata March 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

        Don’t we all. Eating proper food from home helps with the longing

  • Miss Pepeye March 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    And BN, though I know Dunni’s got her own blog, but this “kain correct” person/cook/chef :) needs to feature from time to time on this blog, ejoo. Dunni, what say ye??? Of course, will still visit dooneyskitchen.

    • Dunni Obata March 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Lol. Thank you. I feel honoured

  • Kenny March 30, 2013 at 12:06 am

    @Dunni Obata, where did u find this Uhorobo arrangement lol… pls keep up the good work. Uhorobo wadoooooooo. The wak looks yummy whaooooo

  • Kenny March 30, 2013 at 12:21 am

    @Dunni, i just bookmark visited it, liked it great job. For those of us who don’t know how to arrange 9ja wak we will surely learn from you. Menhhhh going thru ur website i just got hungry. Have a happy Easter celebration.

    • Dunni Obata March 30, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thank you Kenny. My job is done if someone learns something. Happy Easter to you too

  • blessed child March 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips with us. I look forward to making this for my husband

  • Dunni Obata March 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Great News: My amazingly fabulous cousin (her words) has just told me that a hand mixer works too. Use the knead function. Again, not the whisk function, but the knead function. It is safe to say if you have a stand mixer, this will work too. As long as it has a a dough making attachment.

  • beeess April 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Amen…I haven’t eaten pounded yam in a long time because of this nonsense poundo…But now, I don see…It’s going down!! Thank you for this tip! Jah Bless

  • O.D April 2, 2013 at 8:54 am

    i have never eaten poundo floor, definetly buying a food processor. thanks for the tip…….i love good food

  • Kemi May 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I saw this recipe at an Urhobo food blogger since then many well know bloggers have been blogging urhobo dishes without giving props to Dirty Dishes Dirty Rantings where they all got all these urhobo recipes from. You may not be one of them, but I find it very annoying that someone will blog and well know bloggers takes their work pass if off as their own and attached plenty stories behind it. cookingncleaning.blogspot.co.uk where all the urhobo recipes are and as far as I am concern na the first to blog about such dishes.

  • cynthia May 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Please dunmi jus read this wats d local name for parsely leaves and basil leaves.and can I get them in my local market.hope u see this .luv ur dishes

    • to cynthia June 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      parsley is just called parsely. The abokis that sell salad ingredients call it parsley. basil is efinrin in the local markets

  • Fatima July 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Ha! Dunni! Dunni!! Dunni!!! How many times did I call you? How dare you do this to a craving woman? Now my food processor has a new meaning. God bless your momma.

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