The first time I ever tasted Banga soup was with my dad in Lagos. We were at this restaurant and he ordered Banga soup. I started interrogating him immediately, what is Banga soup? What is it made of etc? My dad just told me, ‘IYA’, calm down, you will see it when they serve us! When they served him his soup, it was in a clay pot. You need to see the look on my face that day. What!!!
Today I am dedicating this post to my igbo friends. I was on the phone to my friend the other day and I told her I am cooking ofe onugbu but I don’t have ogiri, she just told me don’t bother. She said if you give a non ibo man maybe he would eat but an ibo person would definitely not like it and that got me thinking for a minute. I told myself, if I’m cooking this soup, I better do it right.
As I got better, I craved for catfish pepper soup but was too weak to make one. I missed Nigeria at that point, trust point and kill joints, where all catfishes come in different shapes and sizes. My catfish is not much of a point and kill but frozen. To be honest, it is not bad at all in taste but just that you have to settle for the size you see.
I’m starting this month’s post with my gran’s (Iya Dele) staple, Gbegiri or popularly called abula in some other part of Yoruba land in Nigeria. My grandma used to sell this food and I remember people queuing up every evening to buy from her, she usually serve her gbegiri with Tuwo (corn flour). She prided herself in using fresh ingredients; my best part of the soup is the bone marrow and biscuit-bone that she uses.
As easy as this soup is, I always make a call to my mum still, to ask for the recipe all over again each time I need to cook it (don’t ask me, I don’t know why I do it). My mama makes the best okra soup ever, whether plain or the one pot soup and she doesn’t mess about in the kitchen, she knows her onions. I made this okra soup on Sunday after church and I couldn’t help but share with my fellow foodies.
I’m still on about valentine and #bae. Valentine should not leave you out of pocket and should not be a thing of impressing others for the wrong reasons. We should learn to embrace change and do something new sometimes. If you go out on a date night at every val’s day, why not give it a miss this year and stay at home to cook something really quick and special for your love.
The first time I cooked this soup, I invited my dad to mine for lunch. I called him on the phone and I started going on about this new soup I learnt to cook from the TV. He was like your mum is not gonna like that. I told him, trust me she wouldn’t mind if she tastes the goodness of this soup.
This stew is different from ‘ayamase’ simply because of the choice of pepper. Green bell pepper is used for ayamase but if you want the proper local taste, then I think you should try it with the red bell pepper and some tomatoes. To be honest I didn’t discover ayamase until I was in my 20’s.
What better way to enjoy the pumpkin season other than cooking the pumpkin leaves or ugwu as it is popularly called in Nigeria. I love ugwu so much but what I love more is the way my mum cooks hers. I’ll never forget the way Naija women chop the vegetable, no trained chef can beat them to it.