I believe I heard about the term Banga Rice a couple of years ago. I remember thinking huh? Banga what. I have always known Banga Soup, which one is Banga rice. I was told oh, it is a form of local Jollof rice, which also puzzled me a little more because the only local Jollof rice I know of is Iwuk Edesi, which is an Efik dish made like Jollof rice but with Palm oil, crayfish and lots of smoked fish. So, think of this as the Delta Jollof rice, or the Delta version of Iwuk Edesi. Apparently it is a Warri delicacy.
I always like hearing about new dishes, food intrigues me like no other. I figured it would be made from Palm fruit extract. The phrase “it is like local jollof rice”, was all I needed to know. After seeing Iwuk Edesi cooked a few times, I knew, I could apply the same principles. Luckily, I had leftover Palm fruit extract from making Banga Soup (recipe HERE). This is so easy peasy and a refreshing change to your palate. This is indigenous Jollof rice, with our own local flavours, which makes it extra special. I gave it a little extra kick by adding a teaspoon of Banga spices, and the aroma was very inviting. it is the kind of dish that is a cross between eating local soup and eating rice. A tantalising teaser for your tastebuds. Banga rice was such a delight to make, glad I joined the gravy train.
Think of it like a one pot Jollof rice. It is definitely easier to make than Party Jollof rice. I will definitely be making this many more times.
You will need
Palm fruit extract – either made from scratch or in a can
1 tsp Banga Spices
Crayfish – optional
Oburunbebe stick – optional
Chopped red onions
Dry or fresh pepper
1. Dissolve the Palm fruit extract in enough water to cook the amount of rice you need. Add beef stock if you have, chopped onions, dry pepper, the banga spices, the obunrubebe stick, the smoked fish, crayfish, salt and seasoning cubes. Bring this to a boil until you see patches of oil float to the top. Taste to be sure you are pleased with the flavour, turn down the heat and go wash the rice.
2. Unlike Party Jollof rice (recipe HERE), where you boil the rice separately at first, with banga rice, the rice is cooked in the palm oil broth, so you need to ensure that you wash out some of the starch, to prevent the rice grains rom sticking together before they have completely cooked.
3. Add the washed rice to the palm oil broth, and leave the heat lowered for a bit. This is just to allow the rice simmer in the leftover heat of the Palm fruit broth i.e. give it a chance to soften a little in residual heat, so it doesn’t start to burn.
4. Crank up the heat, and let it boil
5. The rice grains will cook and absorb the Palm fruit broth
6. It will continue cooking and absorbing liquid, depending on how much water intent is left, at some stage, you would see large Palm oil patches inside the rice, this is what you want. At this stage, the rice should have almost cooked. if it is still hard, it means you didn’t use with enough water at the start.
7. When it has absorbed most of the liquid, give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon and lower the heat. At this point, the rice wasn’t completely cooked and it tasted so delicious, adding water to dilute that powerful flavour would have been such a shame
So, I used my Party Jollof rice trick of sealing with foil or a plastic bag, which is to allow the rice cook in its own steam i.e. it wouldn’t burn, but steam will finish off the cooking for you. Place the foil paper or plastic bag over the rice, and tuck it in nicely, to seal the rice in. Foil paper is obviously the healthier alternative, but I didn’t have any at home, so plastic bag to the rescue. Remember to cover the pot
Voila! a few minutes later, the rice had completely cooked, with extra smokey flavour from the burnt bits. Wonderful.
Banga rice is ready to be consumed. It looks exactly like Jollof rice, but tastes oh so different. No curry or thyme here, no ginger, no garlic, just true, local Nigerian flavours.
When I was going to plate this, I had this picture in my head, so I did the first step
and then I thought, okay how do I build this plate up? I spied my bowl of Banga soup and I just knew it would be a perfect pairing. I sprinkled a little of the Banga Soup on the rice and it was AMAZING.
It still wasn’t complete, so I decided to bring out a tiger prawn from my Banga soup and a piece of Tilapia, then I was done. This is the Pride of Delta State on a plate. Maybe I should write to the governor and ask him to use this picture on the tourism brochure for Delta State.
What is the Governor’s name again? Off to check Google. Hehehehehehehehe.