Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mbanga (Palm Nut) Soup


Made from the fruit of the African oil palm, Mbanga soup is Cameroon's version of West Africa's palm nut (or palm butter) soup. In Africa, use fresh palm nuts; out of Africa, use canned palm nut pulp.

  • fresh palm nuts, or canned palm nut pulp (also called palm soup base sauce graine, noix de palme, or cream of palm fruit)
  • one-half pound fresh fish, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • one onion, chopped
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one beef bouillon cube or one or two Maggi® cube
  • one hot chile pepper, cleaned and chopped (optional)
  • one pound smoked or dried fish (stockfish or similar), skin and bones removed, rinsed with water
  • two tablespoons dried prawns or dried shrimp, ground into powder
  • If using fresh palm nuts, process them as described on the MoambĂ© Sauce / Nyembwe Sauce recipe page.
  • In a large pot, bring four cups of water to a boil. Add fresh fish, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, bouillon cube or Maggi® cube, and chile pepper (of desired). Reduce heat, and simmer for ten minutes.
  • Add (canned or fresh) palm nut pulp and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for another ten minutes.
  • Add smoked or dried fish and dried prawns or shrimp. Simmer for another ten minutes or until soup is thickened to your liking. Adjust seasoning.
  • Serve over boiled Rice, Yams, or Plantains; or Fufu.
This soup can also be made with greens. Greens that need long cooking time (e.g., cassava leaves, kale) should be added at the beginning; spinach can be added at the end. See Greens in Africa.

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