Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 06:17 pm
Cameroon, located on the West African coast, offers an eclectic blend of African food that reflects its rich cultural diversity. Among the various culinary treasures the country has to offer, Ndole stands out as the national dish of Cameroon. A delightful blend of bitter leaves, groundnuts, and a variety of meats and fish, Ndole is as nutritious as it is flavorful.
In celebration of Remitly customers’ diverse culinary traditions, we’re honored to delve into the flavors and history of ndole, Cameroon-style.
What Is Ndole?
Ndole is a delicious stew that marries the bitter taste of washed bitter leaves with the rich flavors of groundnuts, crayfish, and a variety of proteins. This Cameroonian dish has been passed down through generations and is a must-have in any Cameroonian celebration.
It’s a comforting food that you can find in both humble households and high-end restaurants across the country.
Bitter Leaf: The Star Ingredient
The star ingredient in Ndole is, without a doubt, bitter leaves. Fresh bitter leaf is ideal, although frozen bitter leaf can be used as an alternative.
These leaves are indigenous to West African countries, including Cameroon and Nigeria. Their bitterness is balanced by the sweetness and richness of the other ingredients, creating a harmonious dish that tingles the taste buds.
Classic Ingredients for Ndole
Ndole consists of a medley of classic ingredients that bring its unique flavors to life:
- Bitter leaves
- Groundnuts or raw peanuts
- Stockfish or smoked fish
- Large onion or yellow onion
- Garlic cloves
- Vegetable oil
- Dried shrimp or prawns
- Leek or bouillon (Maggi)
- White pepper
- Optional: ripe plantains, cassava, or yams for serving
How to Make Ndole: Traditional Recipe
Here is a simplified Ndole recipe that you can try at home.
- 3 cups washed bitter leaves
- 2 cups raw peanuts or groundnuts
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup crayfish, ground
- 1 stockfish, soaked and deboned
- 4 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 Maggi bouillon cube
- Salt to taste
- Optional: Dried shrimp, prawns or smoked fish
- Preparation: Boil the bitter leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes to reduce bitterness. Drain and set aside.
Peanut Paste: In a food processor, blend the raw peanuts until they form a fine paste.
Cooking the Base: In a large pot, add the vegetable oil and half of the large onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic cloves and cook for another minute.
Introduce Ingredients: Add the fine paste of groundnuts to the pot, and stir. Slowly add 4 cups of water while stirring to avoid lumps.
Flavor Building: Add the ground crayfish, white pepper, remaining onions, and Maggi cube. Stir well.
Protein: Introduce stockfish, prawns, or smoked fish to the pot.
Finishing Touches: Add the boiled, washed bitter leaves to the mixture. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Total time: Approx 1 hour
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Where to Find Ndole Ingredients Abroad
Finding ingredients like bitter leaves and crayfish can be challenging if you’re not in Africa. However, many African or international grocery stores stock frozen bitterleaf and dried crayfish. Online stores specializing in African food are also an excellent resource.
More about Cameroonian Cuisine
Beyond Ndole, Cameroonian cuisine offers a variety of other delectable dishes. From peanut soup and bobolo (fermented cassava rolls) to miondo (cassava sticks) and fufu (yam or plantain mash), there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Cameroon Ndole has stood the test of time as a beloved dish in not only Cameroonian but also West African cuisine. Next time you’re in the mood to explore African food, Ndole should definitely be on your list!
Whether you are of Cameroonian heritage or a food lover keen to explore African culinary treasures, Ndole is a rich, flavorful stew that provides a taste of Cameroon’s culture and traditions, all in one pot.
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