Iru (Fermented Locust Bean)
Iru is a disappearing spice, a victim of Neo Colonialism. After the British introduced Bouillon Iru Beans began to disappear. The disappearing Iru Beans are produced by the Yoruba and Edo people of Nigeria. We at the Spice Merchant are making the effort to keep this traditional Nigerian spice in recipes and kitchens today!
After harvesting, Iru Beans are washed and boiled before being packed into a calabash gourd lined with ash, which is wrapped with leaves to ferment for 24-36 hours. When ready Iru Beans add depth and complexity to stews, soups, meats, and vegetables
Rich in protein and natural fats, it provides a deep umami flavor to any savory or sweet dishes. Our favorite recipe is the Nigerian Ofada Stew, but truly these beans can be added to any recipe and are fun to experiment with! Be warned at first the beans smell quite strong, but the flavor they release will be unique and delicious!