Black palmnut soup

Mbanga/Black Palmnut Soup with difference – a West African soup made from heavily pounding the palm nut fruit to extract the palm nut fruit pulp simmered in assorted meat, spices and bitter leaf or spinach. So rich and hearty!

Mbanga/Palmnut soup is normally red due to the palmnut base. However a spice called Esesse also known as 4 cote was added to this dish causing the soup to go black. This spice in combination with Pebe ( false nutmeg ) and country onion known as Rondelles in french which replaces garlic powder are the amazing flavours added to the palmnut soup.

black palmnut soup served with cocoyam fufu

Palm oil has a pretty bad reputation. Why? Some would say it is eco- unfriendly and unhealthy for the human body ; while others would refute this argument. `They say palm oil is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, more than carrots and tomatoes and  it is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world. Which side you agree;  there is no denying that this  soup is tasty and palm oil is inherent in it. So eat in moderation!

 So what is palm nut soup which is also known as banga soup to many? It is a rich and hearty sauce that is cooked in West Africa- made from heavily pounding the palm nut fruit to extract the palm nut fruit pulp. This process  should be done carefully, without breaking the kernels/nut inside the fruit. However, palm oil base can also be used from a tin . This dish is slowly simmered with different types of assortment meats of your choice. For this recipe, i used cow skin which is known as pomo and fried fish.

This palate  soup  full of flavour has become a relatively easy soup to make now, because the palm nut fruit has been extracted already and put in a can. These can be found in African, Caribbean stores and online .

 In most parts of West African this soup is served with rice or any starchy  side  but in Cameroon it would be a crime to serve this dish without kwacoco – it’s time honored mate. Cocoyam fufu can also be an alternative.

Spices used in cooking this dish

Black palmnut Soup cooked with 3 spices Pebe Nut which is also known as “false nutmeg” . A spice well known in Cameroon, Gabon and Ivory Coast. This spice is very versatile and also used for making peppersoup, traditional soups and for roasting as well. The second spice which is what transformed the soup into a darker colour is from a plant called Esese/4 Cotés in Cameroon, Prekese in Ghana, Uhio (Uhiokrihio) in Nigeria. This spice is conventionally also used as a natural multivitamins. It is rich in protein, lipids, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin C. Traditionally cooked in soups and also great for postpartum mothers . The major constituents are Tannins, flavonoids and starch The third spice used is called Rondelles in cameroon ; also known as country onion . Country Onion is a spice with a smokey undertone appearance and a pungent garlic flavor well known in west Africa and a great substitute to garlic powder. This spice is also used in “Banga soup” . A very important spice which adds flavour to the dish


Palmnut oil base

Cow skin



Sea salt

1 tbsp false nutmeg ( pebe )

1 tbsp country onion ( rondelles )

1 tbsp Esese ( also known as 4 Cotés, Uhio , prekese )

2 maggi cubes

White pepper

Scotch bonnet is optional


Enjoy !