Banga spice mix is a warmly spice blend that excites your taste bud. You may not have heard of this before, but you will love this when you try it. It is a major ingredient for cooking banga soup. However, do not limit the use to just making sauce. Explore other food and drinks by sprinkling a little on them to create an exciting new flavour that you will go back to again and again.
There are many benefits of eating herbs and spices. Check out this article.
Like other recipes, the ingredients used vary from individuals to individuals, tribe to tribe. However, at africanfoods.com, we created our mix. It has worked again and again. The names of the spices are their ethnic names. The Itshekiris and Urhobos, are the two ethnic groups that have made these spices popular. The names below are what the Itshekiris call them:
Ataiko is a small spindle-shaped spicy seed indigenous to West Africa with its distinct taste.
It is an amazing spice on its own and combines beautifully with other spices for an exciting experience.
If you love trying new food ground this spice in coffee grinder and sprinlke a little in your smoothie or latte.
Although, this spice seed is from West Africa, it is now available in many African food shops in Europe and North America. So you can have a look, feel it and taste it.
Ighereje is the sister spice to ataiko. They are similar in looks, but ighereje is flatter and more expensive with a milder flavour.
Some people cook their banga sauce with just these two spices, and it still tastes fabulous.
Like Ataiko, ighereje is now available in some African grocery shops. Do not let anything stop you from trying this spice and sprinkling on your drinks and food.
Gbafilo is a species of nutmeg found in West Africa. Like other species of nutmeg, the spice is the inner edible seed that is ground and used in sauces, stews or drinks.
In West Africa, many of the spices used in cooking are used in the preparation of herbal medicines.
So, do not hesitate to use this the same way you use the other popular species of nutmeg. Like the two other spices, this is now availble in many African shops and most times easier to get than the first two spicies above.
The Omilo is also a seed spice like gbafilo but smaller with an oval shape. It is an ingredient in pepper soup spice mix as well.
Now, many may not add this to banga, but it helps increase the flavour without overwhelming the entire meal if used moderately.
Another spice I always add to my banga spice mic is pronounced yanyan, but full name is yanghanyanghan in Itshekiri language.
It is a flowering plant in the pea family. In West Africa, yanyan is famous as a spice and ingredient in herbal medicine preparation. Its aromatic flavour earns this spice the name "perfume spice". Many use it for pepper soup and banga soup.
It is a long woody spice with rough curve edges that you cut the quantity required like cinnamon sticks. And can be thrown into stews and sauces whole or ground.
Now that we have looked at the individual spices, how do you combine to make the spice mix?
I usually use the 800ml can of palm sauce to cook my banga. For that quantity of palm fruit concentate, I use the following quantity of spice blend:
Watch out for our next post on banga sauce.
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