Irú / Eware (Fermented & Processed Locust Beans) – 8oz
Iru (fermented locust beans) has been used for centuries across West Africa for its delicious and healthful properties. Rich in protein and natural fats, it imparts a deep umami flavor to savory or sweet dishes. It’s the fermented bean of the Nigerian Locust Tree and it has an incredible, complex flavor, somewhere in between chocolate, miso, and cheese.
Despite its wide applications across West African cuisine, it’s still surprisingly difficult to find in the US, especially in dry bean form.
- Origin: Ilaro, Ogun State, Nigeria
- Aliases: Dadawa / dawadawa, ogiri, ogirisi, ugba, netetou, kainda, soumbala
- Process: Boiled, fermented and sun-dried
- Ingredients: 100% fermented locust beans (Parkia biglobosa)
- Tasting notes: Dark Chocolate • Roasted Nuts • Mild Cheese • Miso
Fermented and processed locust beans is very popular among the Yoruba people and Edo people of Nigeria. It is used in cooking traditional soups like egusi soup, okro soup, Ewedu soup and ogbono soup. Among the Manding-speaking people of West Africa irú is known as sumbala. The Yorubas classify iru into two types: Iru Woro which is commonly use in making stew and Iru Pete which is used in making ewedu and egusi soup.
It can be found fresh or dried. The fresh variety is usually wrapped in moimoi leaves , which are similar in appearance and texture to banana leaves. It has a very pungent smell.
The dried variety is flattened into discs or cakes for sale. Dried iru is weaker in flavor and pungency than fresh (though frying dried iru in cooking oil will restore much of the flavor). The dried variety stores very well in freezers.
The most valuable part of the locust beans are high in lipid(29%), protein(35%), and carbohydrate(16%). It is a good source of calcium and fat for rural dwellers.
During fermentation, the reducing sugar content increases, and the total free amino acid content initially decreases; in the end, however, there is a large increase in free amino acid content.[
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