Locust Beans (Iru)

Locust Beans are called iru in Yoruba, Eginili Igala in Ibo, Ete Edi Uku in Efik and Kalwa in Hausa.   The fruit of the African locust bean tree has a pulp in which is embedded many small seeds.  The pulp is dried in some areas for addition to soups, rice and cereals.  A drink called bolola is made from it.

The seeds are used extensively throughout West Africa as a flavourful and nutritious addition to soups and stews.  The contain about 54 percent fat and 50 percent high quality protein, in addition to other vitamins and minerals.  The seeds are prepared by boiling for 24 hours to soften the coats, then pounded and washed several times to remove the broken shells.  The kernels are boiled to form a paste which is then fermented, resulting in a very strong smelling greyish product.  This is either sold fresh or in flat dried patties.

Have you tried iru before? Be sure to check out this amazing ingredient on our website – it comes with so many nutritious benefits!⁠⁠

Here is a recipe for efo riro containing iru that you can also try:


1kg Leafy greens (spinach, kale)

250g Beef

5 Bell peppers

1 medium Onion

4 medium Tomatoes

2 Scotch bonnets

10g African Plate locust beans (soaked in water for 30 minutes)

1 teaspoon Salt

10g African Plate Crayfish (ground)

25ml Palm Oil

1 teaspoon African Plate Ami Ami Spice

For a non-meat alternative, the beef could be substituted for dried mushrooms.


  1. Boil the meat in salted water with the Ami Ami Spice until soft.
  2. Blend the peppers, onions and tomatoes roughly on the pulse setting.
  3. Fry the cooked meat in palm oil for 2 minutes and add the locust beans. 
  4. Fry for another 2 minutes and then add the blended ingredients.  Fry for 15 minutes.
  5. Chop the washed greens coarsely and add to the fried stew.  Cover the pot tightly and allow the steam from the wet greens to cook them.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the ground crayfish just before removing from the heat and mix well.
  7. Serve with African Plate Coconut Poundo.
January 9, 2021 admin

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