Ofeakwu (Palm Oil or Banga Soup)

Ofeakwu (Palm Oil or Banga Soup)

Igbo kwenu! Lol… You know why we had to make such entrance right? It’s because ofeakwu is a traditional Ibo dish most common in Anambra state. Ofeakwu literally translates to ‘palm nut soup’ and yes indeed this soup is made basically from palm nuts! Let’s see how!


Palm nuts (Akwu)

Meat – beef, chicken, goat meat… OR fresh fish

Stock fish

Dried fish





Seasoning cubes


Scent leaves (Nchanwu )

Pumpkin leaves (Ugu)

Tomato, ground or tomato paste (optional)


  1. Boil your palm nuts they are soft and done. You could know this from pressing the nuts.
  2. Sieve from hot water, pour into a mortar and pound. Pound very well to make sure the nuts are skinned and you could extract juice/oil by massaging.
  3. Now this is the time to extract the oil. You can’t get all the oil you want at once and you don’t want your extracted oil watery, so you have to do this skillfully for a number of times or till you get all the oil from the nuts. Start by adding water just about the same level as akwu, massage and sieve out oil into a pot you intend to make the soup with. Repeat this process a couple more time, bearing in mind not to pour in too much water.
  4. After you have extracted enough oil, set on a cooker and turn on.
  5. Allow to boil, and then wash in your meat and stock fish. Allow to boil for some 15 – 20 minutes, depending on size of soup.
  6. While you are waiting for that, pound your pepper, crayfish, okpei and onion in the mortar. Also prep your dried fish.
  7. Now, put in your pounded mixture and dried fish. At this point, also season your soup with seasoning cubes of your choice and then some salt. Allow to boil for another 10 – 15 minutes or so.
  8. Check to see if your soup has thickened enough to be served with white rice. If it is not there yet be looks close, leave to boil for some more time, if it’s still too watery, you may want to add some fresh (ground) tomatoes or tomato paste. Taste too, to see if it’s fine.
  9. Pick and slice your leafy vegetables, and once your soup is how you want it, add the scent leaves first, then the pumpkin leaves – both just as much as you would want in your soup. It is not nice to have too many leaves n the soup though.
  10. After some 5 minutes or less, stir and turn off the cooker.

Ofeakwu is ready! Serve with white rice!!

Tip: if your palm nuts are no longer hot when you’re trying to extract the oil, you could massage with hot water to melt out enough oil.

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