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The term Njangsa refers to the oily seeds of a tree, Ricinodendron heudelotii, found in tropical West Africa. It is also known as Munguella (Angola), Essessang (Cameroon), Bofeko (Zaire), Wama (Ghana), Okhuen (Nigeria), Kishongo (Uganda), Djansang, Essang, Ezezang and Njasang. Two varieties of the tree species are recognized R. heudelotii var. heudelotii in Ghana and R. heudelotii var. africanum in Nigeria and Westwards. Ricinodendron heudelotii trees produce a fruit that are typically 2-3 lobed and contain 2 cells in which the seeds lie. These seeds are red-brown to black in colour, rounded and some 1cm in diameter. The seeds are oily in texture and can be bought either raw or dried. They have an odour reminiscent of oily chocolate, but their flavour is truly unique: subtly aromatic with a mild bitter aftertaste.

As well as the seed form the spice is also sold in African markets rolled into sausage shapes. Here the oily seeds are pounded in a pestle and mortar, shaped by hand before being sun-dried. This spice is used either as a thickener for West African 'soups' (stews) or it's used as a flavouring for rice.

Use in cuisine

The whole seeds are pounded in a pestle and mortar and added as a thickener to West African 'soups' (stews). The prepared seeds (either pounded in a pestle and mortar or the prepared form from markets) are steamed and then crumbled into rice as a flavouring.


  • Celtnet Spice Guide [1] (accessed July 19 2007)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Njangsa". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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