African Foods: Palm Oil and Palm Oil Recipes
There are so many delicious Palm Oil Recipes that are adaptable to other Cultures. Although Palm Oil applies to a whole range of food around the World, some rather unpopular cooking and eating with cultural Connotations are popular in places where Palm Tree plays a vital role in the life of the People.
Banga Soup and Banga Rice
The second most popular name for Palm Fruit is Banga. Small wonder, it is popular to hear West Africans referred to the Palm Tree as Banga tree . The term "Banga" cannot be detached from the name of a large Palm Tree Plantation and Palm Oil Company whose Palm oil Produce output dates back to several years.
Banga soup and Banga rice are prepared from the liquid extract (Banga water) of cooked Palm Fruits. The Fruits are cooked to soft, crushed with the hand or with a mortar and pestle, mixed with water, and filtered to separate the Palm Kernel and the Chaff from the liquid. The Liquid is a mixture of both dissolved and suspended materials of the soft and succulent parts of the Palm Fruit.
While the Banga water is used to substitute water for cooking rice in the case of Banga rice, it is the entire volume of Soup for Banga soup, except that other basic Ingredients like fish, meat, pepper, onion, salt and spices; are added in as the mixture continues to boil on the fire.
Some cultures are fund of adding certain other Ingredients as either taste enhancers or thickeners. Grounded Melon, Okra, sliced leafy vegetables; are some of the Ingredients that are used to confer different Tastes and Varieties. Apart from meat and Fish, the African giant Snail, Periwinkles, Crayfish, Prawn, and so many other sources of Animal Proteins, also adds up to what is called Banga soup.
Akara and Moin moin
Akara and Moin moin are made primarily from grounded depeeled Beans and Vegetable Oil, and Palm Oil is evidently the most popular Oil used. In the case of Moin moin, the Palm Oil is poured into grounded Beans and carefully stirred to mix before steaming in small portions. While fresh palm Oil is preferred in Local Environments where the product is colourful and yellowish, partially heated bleached Palm Oil is mostly used in modern settings.
Akara and Moin moin are almost similar until the Stage where Moin moin must be steamed Beans Pudding and Akara fried Snacks in hot Oil. Grounded Beans is mixed with salt, Onion and Pepper and measured into hot palm oil to fry into Akara. While grinded Beans on the other hand is stirred with Palm oil, Pepper, Onion, Salt and some other Ingredients and measured into Containers and steamed in a covered Pot.
Fried Plantain Chips
Plantain is either sliced and fried as ripe Plantain (Dodo) or sliced thinly to make plantain Chips that are mostly made from unripe Plantain. The colour of the Plantain Chips is governed by whether the oil is partially or completely bleached. Plantain Chips fried with completely bleached Oil are lightly coloured and are mostly popular in commercial products.
Eating Fresh Palm Oil
Fresh Palm Oil is directly consumed in coastal Areas of Nigeria. Roasted or Cooked Yam, Coco-yam, or unripe Plantain is immersed in a flat plate of salted fresh Palm Oil before eating. Sometimes dried Tilapia Fish or other fresh water fish is roasted to Partially charred and swiftly transferred to the oil to confer special Aroma.
Owo soup is less popular because it is at present confined to some few societies. It is relevant because of its unique societal and cultural role and fascinating Characteristics. Owo is prepared with six major basic Ingredients: Palm Oil, Potash, Thickener (Starch or Garri), Pepper, Salt, and Water. Varieties of Fish and Meat that includes dried fish and bush meat are also added for enhancement. While coastal communities like Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ijaw and Isoko prefer to add local traditional Spices, the Edo people from Esan and Bini prefer to add Tomatoes.