1. NJANGSA (Cameroon)
The term Njangsa refers to an oily seeds 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), and Akpi ( Ivory Coast). Njangsa is endemic to tropical Africa. The native geographic location of Njangsa reaches from Senegal in West Africa to Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, down to Angola. The tree is also found in Madagascar. Njangsa grows generally in rain forests. The edible parts of the plant are the high nutritive kernels contained in the seeds. The dried and ground kernels are used as a flavoring agent in some dishes in West and Central Africa. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Njangsa) 2. MBONGO (Cameroon)
Alligator Pepper (known as mbongo spice, hepper pepper) is an African spice which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, Aframomum citratum or Aframomum exscapum. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum melegueta. However, unlike grains of paradise which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds in the same manner to another close relative, black cardamom. Used as mbongo spice, the seed of alligator pepper is often sold as the grains themselves, isolated from the pod and with the outer skin removed. Mbongo spice is most commonly either Aframomum danielli or Aframomum citratum and has a more floral aroma than Aframomum exscapum. 3. 4-CORNER (Cameroon), PREKESE (Ghana)
Tetrapleura tetraptera is a species of a flowering plant in the pea family native to West Africa. The plant is called Prekese in the Twi language of Ghana. The tree has many uses. Its sweet fragrance is highly valued, its fruit is used to spice dishes, and its bark is used for medicinal purposes. The major constituents are tannins, flavonoids and starch. In West Africa, the plant Tetrapleura tetraptera (locally known as Aridan) is used as a spice, a medicine and as a dietary supplement rich in vitamins. In Ghana prekese has been used as flavoring for soft drinks and the drink is approved by the Food and Drugs Board and is marketed to reduce hypertension, and decrease the severity of asthma attacks. The dried fruit has been combined in soap bases to include anti-microbial properties. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prekese) 4. PEBE (Cameroon), EHURU (Nigeria)
Mondora Myristica, the Calabash nutmeg tree grows naturally in evergreen forests from Liberia to Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Angola, Uganda and West Kenya. Due to the slave trade in the 18th century, the tree was introduced to the Caribbean islands where it was established and became known as Jamaican nutmeg. In 1897, the Monodora Myristica was introduced to Bogor Botanical Garden, Indonesia, where the trees flower on a regular basis but no fruit could yet be collected. The oroma and taste of the Monodora Myristica seed is similar to nutmeg and it is used as a popular spice in the West African cuisine. The fruits are collected from wild trees and the seeds are dried and sold whole or ground to be used in stews, soups, cakes and desserts. For medicinal purposes they are used as stimulants, for headaches, sores and also as insect repellant. The seeds contain 5-9% of a colourless essential oil. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monodora_myristica) 5. BUSH PEPPER (Cameroon), UZIZA (Nigeria)
Piper guineense, known as Bush pepper (Cameroon) Ashanti pepper, Guinea pepper, Uziza (Nigeria). It is used in West African cuisine where it imparts "heat" (piquantness) and a spicy, pungent aroma to classic West African "soups" (stews). Even in West Africa, Ashanti pepper is an expensive spice and is used sparingly. Often, a few grains are in a pestle and mortar before being added (along with black pepper) to soups or to boiled rice. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using cubeb pepper, where Ashanti imparts a less bitter flavor. The pepper is also sometimes one of the ingredients in the Berbere spice mix used in the cuisines of Ethiopia and of Eritrea. West African black pepper (Piper guineense) is an important plant used in traditional medicine and as spice. The fruits (the part of the plant traditionally used) are rich in a wide range of natural products including volatiles oils, lignans, amides, alkaloids, flavonoids and polyphenols. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_guineense) 6. LONG KING (Cameroon), UDA (Nigeria)
Xylopia aethiopica is an evergreen, aromatic tree, of the Annonaceae family that can grow up to 20m high. It is a native to the lowland rainforest and moist fringe forests in the savannah zones of Africa. Long King or Uda is a pungent and aromatic spice that yields the scientific named Xylopia aethiopica but it is commonly known in the plain language as Negro pepper. Came originally from Ethiopia to Ghana, Uda is also called grains of selim, African grains of selim, moor pepper and Senegal pepper. Beyond its diverse labels, Uda is popular for its bitter-nutty taste just like a mixture of cubeb pepper and nutmeg. One example of an African food that uses Uda is the Nigerian/Cameroonian Pepper Soup. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylopia_aethiopica) 7. COUNTRY ONION (Cameroon)
Afrostyrax lepidophyllus and afrostyrax kameronensis is found in the rain forests of Gabon and Cameroon and have flavors like onions or garlic and the seeds and bark of the trees are used as spice. The young roots of the tree of afrostyrax kameronensis is also used as seasoning. The bark of the tree is used for medicinal purposes, to alleviate constipation and cure headaches, for example. Royal Society of Chemistry, International Flavor Conference 4-7 July 2010, Paros, Greece. Afrostyrax lepidophyllus grows slowly and takes 10-15 years to bear fruit. It is known to grow naturally from sea level up to about 1,400 m altitude. This spice is commonly used in Cameroonian cuisine with dishes that are cooked primarily with palm oil. It is also called ‘bush onion’. About Our Specialty Spices