photo carob, Locust Bean, Ugba, Iru, Dawa dawa

It is not easy to look at, and the smell is unpleasant – at best.

These aside, Locust Bean is the single, most significant ingredient guaranteed to take your soups, stews or mixed vegetables from “just okay” to Va-va-voom – every time.

Our grandparents know this as do the best African cooks – and now, so do you.


Wait! what is Carob, Locust Bean, Ugba, Irú and Dawa Dawa?

These names all refer to one and the same thing – this bean-like non-fleshy seed with a naturally sweet taste is widely used:

  • To sweeten foods
  • As a healthy chocolate substitute
  • As a spice for some of the best tasting African stews – ever


Okay, let’s stay on that one for a moment

Nigerians and other Africans swear by Locust beans and add it to everything – not only because it tastes good and can serve as a tastier alternative to buillon cubes, but also due to its health benefits among which are vision improvement, digestion aid and much more

Whether its medical properties are proven or not, one things is for sure: its tastes good – yes! we’re back on that.

To further explain this, here are 2 of several traditional recipes which typically contain Locust Beans – and they taste great!


1. PHOTOS: Quickest Way To Prepare Authentic Ayamashe Stew


green pepper, onion in blender
Green Pepper ‘Ayamashe’ Recipe


2. Okra Recipe – Mixing It Up w/Dry Chili Peppers and Meats


mixed okra, pepper, meat stew a.k.a ila alasepo
Mixed Okra soup


  1. Plz guys help I don’t know the meaning of locust bean in Igbo , can someone explain to me in Igbo , I have seen the pic but still don’t know it

  2. Comment: Am a producer of locust bean seasoning powder that is locust bean that has been dried n milled. As a food scientist , I made this product to ensure longer shelf life of locust bean up to like 3-4 months and to prevent odor escape. This product is also suitable for people that do not like seeing or chewing d bean in food….. This product has won a lot of people hearts but that doesn’t mean I should advertising my product.
    For more information about the product, you can
    contact me on this number 08146849334
    Less I forget…. The product is made in varieties such as
    ( Locust bean fortified with ginger)
    ( Locust bean fortified with moringa)
    ( Locust bean fortified with chilli) etc
    If interested, contact this number 08146849334 and on facebook … ODUNIYI MEMUNAT
    You can chat with me on whatsapp with d number and pls business only

  3. 0molayo Adedokun->-Hi madam Titi welldone, i’m into the locust beans business in Lagos,pls i need information about the exportation to other countries and this is my mobile number +2348085765317

  4. Hey jaycee… where we came from iru is actually called UGBA, spice baby was not refering to the igbo’s UGBA wich we see in african salad and nkwobi. Am from igala, kogi state and there we call iru UGBA

  5. Good job spicy baby, pls i want to go into exportation of Nigeria local content such as okoro, locust bean(iru), correct cripy Garri ijebu many more………. pls how do i go about it as i dont have any knowledge about exportation. what are the procedure, i have no idea. Pls ur quik response will be highly welcome

  6. WOW!…Spice baby, this site is fantastic!
    I can now raise my head up high knowing ppl like you are showcasing African cuisines and culinary heritage in a well-packaged manner as this.
    I’m so proud of your work here and most importantly, proud to be a Nigerian.
    Good job!

    • Chef Timi: your heartfelt comment brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the kind words and yes, the entire spicebaby concept was born out of our love for our roots and while its not without its challenges, encouraging voices such as yours definitely make a difference. And you’re a chef, so we would LOVE if you’d get off the sidelines and jump in on-board with us to submit posts, tips or any materials you know will serve your personal idea of how our culinary heritage should be regarded.

      hope to hear back from you sir.

  7. Nice blog you all got there, buh let me quickly correct somfin here, UGBA is not the same thing as DAWADAWA. where i come from UGBA is know as UKPAKA. It is that light coffee-brown (or sometimes dark brown) fruit that is cut in strips and used in garnishing African salad. while the dawadawa comes in tiny seeds. Thanks.

  8. Hello I don’t think carob and “african locust bean”(dawadawa, iru) are the same.
    Carob: Ceratonia siliqua
    African locust bean: Parkia biglobosa

    They are in the same family but different genus. Even a lime and a orange which are in the same genus “citrus” Have different health benefits. One should be careful to make these hasty generalizations. The only way to know the health benefits of our dawa dawa is through research of it. We can not use research findings of another plant just because they are both called locus bean.

    Same family: Fabaceae
    diff genus: Ceratonia and Parkia

  9. We are Pace Innovations. my names are Adedeji O. Israel. We are looking for Joint Venture relationship in sourcing, marketing and supply of raw materials like LOCUST BEANS AND IRU etc. for further information, call +2348120731048,

  10. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  11. Wow, I just learnt about Carob. Super excited…I will look out for it the next time I go grocery shopping….

  12. a very good info.keep it up.pls supply me with information on export potentials as I have d product of locust beans in reasonable quantity.thanks

    • That’s great Yusuf. where are you visiting from? and what other produce/resources do you have access to?