The African locust bean tree with the scientific name “Parkia Biglobosa” has been used in all parts of Nigeria especially in the rural communities for the cure, treatment, or remedies of malaria, diabetes mellitus, infections, and inflammatory diseases. The African locust bean is a priceless multi-purpose tree; the seeds, pods, fruit pulp, bark, and leaves are edible reasons to why all are included in a variety of recipes such as drinks and dishes with its seeds used for the fermented locust beans which is a popular food seasoning condiment that many Nigerians relish in meals and are sold in all parts of Nigeria markets for the seasoning of traditional meals. The pods grow in bunches among bulb-like spherical bright red flowers and the yellow pulp within the pods contains the seeds which have a tough hard coat. The flower head is held on a long drooping stem with a beautiful, bright red color and looks like an electric bulb; the flowers begin to open at dusk, close, and wilt at dawn, what a magnificent beauty to behold, its flower buds are also edible which can be added to any favorite salad recipes. The leaves of the African locust bean tree are glossy dark green often boiled, mixed with cereal flour, and eaten as vegetables. The yellow pulp contains the seeds of the locust beans, it is often eaten raw as sweet fruit; and also a major ingredient in local cuisines for preparing gruels, cereals, cakes, and snacks. As a natural sweetener it can also be fermented into traditional alcoholic beverages and to make a favorite local drink it is soaked in water, spices or flavors are added, then sieve and serve as a healthy, sweet, refreshing drink.
The “African locust beans” are often mistaken for the “Carob Pods” due to similarities of the pods but they are not the same thing; Carob pods are from the “Ceratonia Siliqua” tree mostly found in the Mediterranean, and its seeds are called the Mediterranean locust beans, the pulp of the Carob pods are used as an alternative for cocoa powder in chocolates and other sweet recipes. While the African locust beans called “Parkia Biglobosa”, have a much more place in the lives of Nigerians where most rural dwellers enjoy eating its yellow pulps as sweet dry fruits; its seeds are popularly used for the fermented locust beans known as Daddawa, Iru, or Ogiri which is a food seasoning condiment. The northern Nigeria ethnic groups use it in almost all the soup recipes, one-pot meals, stir-fries, finger-foods, an important seasoning for all cultural cuisines such as the African salad, native palm oil rice, Daddawa stews, and mixed vegetable snacks; but the processing of the fermented locust beans differs between cultures, tribes, and states within Nigeria.
The Amazing Condiment Called Daddawa:- The fermented locust beans are known and called “Daddawa” in Hausa, “Iru” in Yoruba, and “Ogiri” for the Igbo. A deliciously healthy condiment very popular in northern Nigeria; generally used in most recipes as a healthy substitute for seasoning cubes and meat, the addition of the fermented locust beans automatically transforms a simple dish into a native sophisticated delicacy, with the Daddawa always at hand it is all that’s needed for the real taste of culture, and aroma. A marketplace in Nigeria without a market stall for the sales of the fermented Daddawa is not a complete market, and to locate the stalls for the sales of Daddawa is so easy, all it takes is to simply follow the direction of the nostril as a guide to perceive the authentic aroma of Daddawa from miles away. The perfect food condiment that passes and goes over fenced neighbors gates; over tall walls uninvited to invites the neighbors for a delicious meal, giving new taste to an old traditional cuisine. Daddawa a native delicacy that is as irresistible as it is difficult to process; Daddawa turns an ordinary dish into an extra-ordinary deliciousness, super addictive is the use of the fermented locust beans in recipes without which dishes are just bland cooked ingredients. A cultural cuisine will never be considered a traditional delicacy without the addition of the fermented locust beans; the seasoning is the authentic identification of a cultural Nigeria Cuisine, the following are some of the delicious Daddawa recipes:
Processing The Daddawa:- Daddawa is one of the best remedies or cure for hypertension or high blood pressure; as long as one is not intimidated by the strong pungent smells but as soon as the fermented locust beans are heated up, a new and totally delicious aroma and flavor fills up the air. The processing of the locust bean seeds is a very tasking procedure especially the homemade Daddawa; the traditional fermented seeds used as seasoning condiments include Ogiri, Okpehe, Iru, and Daddawa, the following seeds are used for their processing, the African locust bean seeds, soya beans, and Egusi known as Melon seeds.
The African locust beans seeds.
Water, enough to cook, dehusk and thoroughly wash the seeds.
The seeds of the Hibiscus Sorrel Zobo are “Na’mijin Daddawa” and “Toka” is Ashes in Hausa.
The African locust bean pods are soaked in water to soften their pods. Strain and place in a mortar, add ashes, and pound gently using the pestle for easier separation of the seeds from the pods.
Spread on a flat surface area to dry, with the aid of a tray, or basket shake off the dried yellow pulp and husks, leaving just the seeds in the basket.
The seeds are used for the processing of the fermented locust beans; put the dark brown seeds into a deep iron pot, add enough water to cover it, cover the pot with the lid, and place on medium heat to boil for 24 hours to soften the seeds for easier de-hulling of the hard coat covering the soft seeds.
On the morning of the second day, remove the pot from the heat, strain water, and turn the boiled seeds into a very large bowl. Turn some of the seeds into a mortar and pound gently to de-hull the seeds, repeat for the remaining seeds until all is completely de-hulled.
The next stage is the washing of the de-hulled seeds and the three most important tools to use for washing off the husks are a medium-sized basket, a bowl, and a tray with lots of water.
Washing is done in batches just as for the pounding, to make for a faster washing; scoop some of the pounded locust beans and pour into the basket, that has been placed into a larger dish bowl. Pour water to submerge the basket with the locust beans. Push the basket into the water in the dish bowl repeatedly, rotating until the husks float away from the soft seeds to settle into the dish with the water, and the de-hulled seeds will remain in the basket. Repeat the process for the remaining seeds of the locust beans until all is de-hulled completely, always remember to change the water with every wash. After this step some of the seeds will need to be pounded again to de-hull; simply return the washed seeds into the mortar and gently pound again until every seed has been de-hulled. Then repeat the process of washing the seeds in clean water just as for the first washing. After which all the locust beans will be free of the husks, clean with a light brown color. Strain water with the aid of a basket; then spread out on a tray and pick out stones, hard objects, and debris. Rinse and return the cleaned locust beans into a separate clean pot, pour water on it enough to cover. Place on medium heat, add the seeds of the hibiscus sorrel called “Na’MijinDaddawa is Ya’yan Zobo”; known as “Ku’uru in Yoruba” then cover the pot and boil for 3 (three) hours, check regularly and add more water as it evaporates, check some of the seeds to see if cooked and tender.
Remove from heat and strain off the water, allow to cool off a bit and turn it into a locally hand-woven sack or jute bag, place it into a calabash or basket made out of rafter ropes, sprinkle sieved ashes all over the toppings of the locust beans in the sack, wrap sack all over locust beans tightly, cover the basket, keep in a warm, dry and dark place for fermentation which depends very much on the weather, too cold takes longer to ferment but warm humid weather makes for a faster fermentation which mostly takes 2 (two) to 4 (four) days to ferment. The fermentation process develops the taste, flavor, and aroma of the locust beans also serves as a preservative during storage. On the third day, open the sack and the fermentation will have taken place and the fermented locust beans will be grayish in color with a pungent smell or aroma indicating that it is ready for use.
Turn into a wide stainless steel tray, spread out to dry evenly, and sprinkle salt all over the top of the locust beans, cover the condiment with a net to keep out flies and insects, place under the sun to dry; a dehydrator is faster, much more hygienic and easier for those who have it.
The Mashed Daddawa and the Loose Daddawa are both used for different recipes; the fermented locust beans are added to a lot of dishes not just to enhance the taste and aroma but as a healthier alternative to the seasoning cubes, the use of either of the locust beans depends on the recipes and how the condiment will add taste, aroma and to enhance the meal appearance: The loose Daddawa is called “Iru Woro” in Yoruba:- Simply means that the seeds remain separated from clumping together after drying, not molded, mashed, or mushy; this type of locust beans is best used for the native jollof rice and other one-pot dishes. The locust beans are stored in an air-tight covered jar, labeled, and kept for use in any recipe of choice.
Molded Daddawa is called “Iru Pete” in Yoruba:- The locust beans is just the opposite of the above, it comes in a mashed-up, mushy mold; the mashed locust beans are processed by putting back the dried locust beans into the calabash, wrapped-up and covered as for the first time with the sacks, and kept overnight to continue fermentation. A day after, pour into a mortar and pound with a pestle into a mushy mold not too smooth. Scoop and mold into balls, or flattened again into a round-shaped locust bean. Arrange individually on a tray to dry under the sun, the molding and flattening are a bit tricky; for easy tasks use an oiled surface or board and rub the palms with oil or use gloved hands to mold easily. After drying store in small jars for sales or use for cooking at home; remember to always rinse the locust beans before use in recipes to remove fine sands and husks.
The dried or dehydrated locust beans Daddawa if properly stored can last for a long time, preserving its taste, aroma, and nutrients, but the fresh Daddawa that has not been dried or dehydrated stays well for weeks, if stored in the refrigerator.
The pungent smell or the aroma of Daddawa gives any soup a unique and superb yummy taste, enhances one’s appetite to crave for more servings; a small quantity of Daddawa goes a long way in lifting a simple recipe into a delicacy such as Okro soups, Ewedu, Ogbono, Miyan Kuka, Miyan Yakuwa, Egusi soups, mixed vegetables like Efo Riro, sauces, and stews, the fermented locust beans are a must-add seasoning for a delicious meal.
The Second Method Of Daddawa Processing:-
The processing of the fermented locust beans depends on the recipe of choice; Boil the African locust bean seeds for twenty-four hours until the hard-coated seeds are enlarged and soften, de-hulling is done by gentle pounding in a mortar and pestle. Then turn into a large bowl to wash off the husks by rubbing the seeds between the palms in a lot of water; rotating the seeds until all coverings are removed. Separate the de-hulled seeds from the husks, pick away all stones and debris. Put to boil in a large pot, add some sorrel seeds of zobo, and cover to boil the second time for one to two hours. Remove from heat and strain.
Cover the base of a calabash or basket with papaya or banana leaves, wrap the boiled seeds in jute bags, and place them in the calabash. Keep in a dark warm place for 3 (three) to 4 (four) days for fermentation. The fermented locust beans are sticky dark brown with a strong-smelling aroma and a gray outer layer.
Daddawa Mixed Spices is called Yajin Daddawa in Hausa:- A northern Nigeria mixed spices that are used in a variety of recipes, especially vegetable soups, stews, sauces, one-pot dishes, barbecues, grills, fried, roasted, or boiled recipes; most often on the table addition of the mixed spices are preferred by those who relish spicy meals.
Recipe Ingredients:- African Fermented Locust beans, Daddawa, Iru, Or Ogiri.
Cloves are Kananfari in Hausa.
Black pepper is Masoro in Hausa.
Chili pepper is the Barkano in Hausa.
Ginger is the Citta in Hausa.
Seasoning cubes and salt to taste.
Recipe Steps:- The best-mixed spices are prepared by the following steps; It is advisable to pound or grind each dry ingredient separately this is to achieve a very smooth and free-flowing powder and to avoid the spices clumping together while pounding and making the mixed spices.
The required dried locust beans condiment known as Daddawa is placed in a mortar or grinder; pounded into a smooth powder, sieve, and keep for use later.
Then grind or pound the cloves and black pepper together until very fine and sieve it into a separate bowl.
The red chili pepper is also pounded separately, sieve into another separate dish bowl.
The dried ginger is placed into a mortar; pounded into ginger powder alone then pour into a separate dish bowl after sieving.
Mixing the spices; combine all the spices in a dish bowl, stir to mix well, return into the grinder or mortar, then add seasoning cubes and salt to taste, pound all together for the last time. A grinder is very fast and effective to use in grinding all mixed spices into a very smooth powder form.
Sieve once again for the last time, and store in an airtight jar, label with ingredients and dates.
Iru Efo Riro Soup:- A thick leafy, mixed vegetable soup of the Yoruba of western Nigeria’s favorite soup. The Efo is spinach and Riro is to stir and mix in Yoruba. A delicious mouthwatering and nutrient-dense soup.
Recipe Ingredients:- Green leafy vegetable of spinach, rinse, pick the tender leaf away from the stem, and shred it into tiny bits.
Meat, chicken, turkey, fresh fish, smoked fish, stock-fish, or mushrooms.
Red palm oil or Olive oil is a healthy substitute.
Tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, scotch bonnets.
Seasoning cubes, salt, crayfish.
Recipe steps:- Wash meat, cut it into pieces and place it in a clean saucepan. Add water enough to cover, add chopped onions, seasoning cubes, salt, and cook until tender. A vegetarian choice is to skip the meat step and add any choice of ingredients.
Wash tomatoes, bell pepper, scotch bonnets, and onions, chop into tiny bits. Or combine and blend all into a paste. Chop onion bulb and keep separate.
Place a saucepan on low heat, pour in some red palm oil, and heat up, then add chopped onions and sauté.
Add the mixed tomatoes pepper paste and stir-fry, add in some fermented locust beans after rinsing to give the soup the traditional aroma and taste. Add meat stock if using meat, if not add water, de-boned fish, crayfish, seasoning cubes, and salt to taste. Stir-fry until the water content is reduced.
Add cooked meat or better still skip the meat and use mushrooms for all vegan soup.
Cover and steam for a few minutes, add the shredded spinach, and cook for the last few minutes. Remove from heat and combine soup, stir and mix in all ingredients; colorful and healthy.
Serve with any swallow of choice, rice, or eat alone as a nutritious vegetable delight; delicious and so wholesome.
The addition of the fermented locust beans gives the soup all the necessary nutrients; which adds a superb taste and aroma but adding the fermented locust beans is not compulsory, because it is a super versatile soup.
Native Jollof Rice:- A delicious one-pot meal with a few ingredients but a load of flavor from the combination of smoky red palm oil, smoked fish, and fermented locust beans. The addition of more ingredients simply goes in for more richness such as green vegetables of spinach, Ugu, or lettuce, meat, chicken, or eggs. The red palm oil gives the dish a beautiful orange color, so yummy and inviting.
Recipe Ingredients:- Rice, fermented locust beans, smoked fish, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, scotch bonnets, red palm oil, green vegetable of choice Spinach or Ugu, seasoning cubes of choice, and salt to taste.
Recipe Steps:- Wash and de-bone smoked fish, soak Daddawa in water, strain, scoop the Daddawa, and discard the residue at the base of the dish bowl. Wash and blend tomatoes, onions, scotch bonnets, and bell pepper into a paste. Peel a bulb of onions and chop for later use.
Place a clean saucepan on low heat, pour in the red palm oil, and heat up, add chopped onions, and saute for a while, add the blended tomato paste, and stir-fry. Add the fermented locust beans, fish, crayfish, seasoning cubes, and salt. Combine well all together. Add enough water to the sauce and boil.
Add washed rice grains, cover the pan and cook on low heat, watch to avoid rice sticking to the pan, cook covered until all water content is absorbed by the rice, and rice is cooked, soft and fluffy.
Lastly, add shredded vegetables, cover, and allow the steam to cook it. Remove from heat and stir to combine with vegetable.
Serve warm with vegetable sauce or alone.
Daddawa Stews:- The locust bean stew is called Miyan Daddawa in Hausa or “Obe Iru or Obe Oniru” in Yoruba which simply means a stew prepared with the fermented locust beans; A tasty stew perfect for any recipe of choice that goes with a stew recipe.
Recipe Ingredients:- Meat or fish, crayfish, red palm oil, crayfish, chopped onions, bell pepper, scotch bonnet, tomatoes are optional. Seasoning cubes and salt to taste.
Recipe steps:- Blend the vegetables of bell pepper, scotch bonnets, and onions into a coarse paste or chop into tiny bits.
Place a clean saucepan on low heat, add red palm oil into the pot and heat up, add chopped onions, and sizzle for a while then add into it the fermented locust beans and stir-fry until the aroma is all over.
Add to it the pepper paste, seasoning cubes, salt. Stir-fry into a thick sauce, add fish or cooked meat, crayfish.
Cover and simmer on low heat until a thick stir-fried sauce, with the red palm oil floating on top of the stew.
Serve with fried plantain, boiled yam, rice, pasta, rice and beans combo, couscous, or any choice meal.
Health Benefits Of The African Locust Bean Tree:- The African locust bean tree is a priceless and powerful wonder tree, loaded with valuable medicinal properties, and healthy nutrients that are rich in lipids, protein, fat, crude fiber, carbohydrates, carotenoids, Vitamin C from its ascorbic acid, saponins, and tannins which is often recommended for the treatment of stomach problems and diarrhea. An excellent source of fiber higher than most food legumes which are great for guts health, and aids digestion, weight loss, delicious and good when added to mixed vegetables for its nutrients. The African locust bean tree when used as a remedy or preventive treatment can be processed to manage health by macerations, vapor, tincture, decoction, lotion, and dried powder. The locust beans are a powerful immunity booster, assist in the management of diarrhea, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart attack, and a great antidote for snake bites. The bark is used for ear problems, bronchitis, pneumonia, skin infections, sores, and ulcers; the bark is boiled, and its vapor or steam use for fever, malaria, and sterility, using the water as bathwater. The roots are included in the lotion used for treating sore eyes and it is also used in the management of bacterial infections. The crushed bark of the African locust bean tree also helps in wound healing, helps in leprosy treatment; the decoction of the bark of the African locust bean tree is used also as a bath solution for fever and a hot mouth wash to steam and relieve toothache.
African locust bean is a great remedy for several diseases caused by high blood sugar and cholesterol such as diabetes and coronary heart disease; the healing powers of the tree are as follows; excellent in lowering blood sugar, total cholesterol, and increases HDL (good) cholesterol significantly. It is advisable for diabetic patients to consume more African locust beans to reduce their blood sugar levels. And it is a healthy choice to include the African locust bean in the daily diet for non-diabetic and healthy individuals for the prevention of diabetes and other life-threatening diseases such as coronary heart diseases.
It is also beneficial and highly recommended for healthy eating as a remedy and prevention to use one to two tablespoons of roasted and ground African Locust Bean “SEEDS” to one teacup of boiled water and as an infusion to replace coffee or tea.
Adverse Effects Of The African Locust Bean Tree:- The use of the locust bean tree for medicinal remedy and treatment may have the following side effects of drowsiness, dizziness, and headache but there is no known adverse effect from eating the fermented locust beans in daily meals. Always consult with your doctor when using medicinal plants as treatments.
Sustainability Of The African Locust Bean Tree:- The African locust bean tree is found throughout the northern parts of Nigeria, most commonly seen on farmlands; the trees have immense utility potentials serves essentially nutritional, economic, and ecological purposes. The African locust bean tree contributes significantly to the livelihood, nutritional and healthy wellbeing of the people of northern Nigeria; but the sustainability of these benefits are threatened due to the fact that the locust bean trees are being overexploited with very limited efforts towards establishing its plantations and maintaining the populations of the trees in the wild. There is the need to improve on its harvesting and post-harvest techniques, the establishment of plantations of the tree species in most of the states of Nigeria is necessary; and to enhance processing, pricing, and marketing of all the African locust bean products for value addition in the lives of the people and stakeholders. Almost all the agrarian communities in Nigeria live on forest foods such as African locust bean trees; which are loaded with essential dietary supplements, generating incomes and providing employment for rural and urban households for daily needs, and reducing social tensions among communities due to poverty. The African locust bean tree provides shade for forage grasses and livestock in the wild; protects the soil from heat and wind, while the falling leaves nourish the soil by providing litter and organic matter. The marketing of the African locust bean products is a great source of income and livelihood for both rural and urban dwellers, it is advisable to properly process all valuable parts of the tree and package accordingly in various sizes and labeled according to ingredients, usage, and date for easy supply and distribution.
The healing powers of Daddawa are worth every sweat and stress of processing it in order to obtain its’ benefits which is the magic that helps relieve all diseases brought on by the day-to-day stress of life living; eat your way to a healthy life. The African locust bean tree is food for all, medicine for various health conditions, and everything within the African locust bean tree is priceless; If you value your life, value the valuable tree of life, and relish a delicious meal for a sweet life!