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Igbo Delicacy: How to make Ofe Akwu

Ofe Akwu is a true gem of Igbo cuisine.

Ofe Akwu or banga stew [Pinterest]

Ofe Akwu, also known as Banga soup, is a rich and flavorful stew originating from the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria.

This dish, traditionally prepared with palm fruits, combines the savoury, spicy, and sweet taste that has become a well-loved delicacy.

Let’s take a journey to Igbo land and learn how to make this traditional dish.

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  • 1 cup palm fruits (banga fruits)
  • Chicken, goat meat, or fish
  • 1/2 cup dried fish (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • Pepper (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon ground crayfish
  • 1 tablespoon Cameroon pepper (optional)
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Ugwu leaves
  1. Prepare the palm fruits: If using fresh palm fruits, remove the outer shells and wash them thoroughly. Boil the palm fruits in a pot of water for 30-45 minutes, or until soft. Once softened, pound the palm fruits using a mortar and pestle or blend them in a food processor until they form a thick paste.
  2. Cook the meat: In a separate pot, steam the meat over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the cooked meat aside.
  3. In a small pot, parboil the soaked dried fish for about 5 minutes and set aside.
  4. In the same pot used for cooking the meat, add the spices and stock. Stir in the ground crayfish, Cameroon pepper (if using), and stock cubes. Cook for 3 minutes allowing the flavours to release.
  5. Add the blended or pounded palm fruit paste to the pot along with the water. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer and add ingredients: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
  7. You can also adjust the spice level by adding more pepper at this stage if desired.
  8. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add chopped ugwu leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes or until slightly wilted. Turn off the heat and let the soup sit for a few minutes before serving.
  • If the soup becomes too thick, simply add a little more water to adjust the consistency.
  • Ofe Akwu is traditionally served with fufu, pounded yam, or semovita. You can also enjoy it with rice or any other preferred starch.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.
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This content was created with the help of an AI model and verified by the writer.

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