Super Ingredient: Carob, Locust Bean, Ugba, Iru, Dawa dawa


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
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  1.    Reply

    Required serious seller of locust beans ( large qty) kindly contact our website

  2.    Reply

    Good job spicybaby.
    MAMA T LOCUST BEANS is my favourite. It is from Ilesa in Osun state Nigeria.
    Contact: +2348138841223

  3.    Reply

    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.    Reply

    I am mrs Titi.i have a a lot of locus beans sell, I need a local and foreign can always contact me on my email address amd my mobile number 07033078969 may GOD bless you as you do so.

  5.    Reply

    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

  6.    Reply

    I have a lot of Locust Bean Seed to sell and I need Foreign buyer, you can contact me through my mail or +2348066990456 waiting for you buyers

  7.    Reply

    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

  8.    Reply

    please does any one know where to get the Iru in London?

  9.    Reply

    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!

    1.    Reply

      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.

  10.    Reply

    I love the efforts you have put in this, thankyou for all the great posts .

    1.    Reply

      You’re welcome Christal. Come back often :)

  11.    Reply

    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.

  12.    Reply

    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

  13.    Reply

    locustbeans is avaliable at all time just are you ready for the business.get zuby at +238032585409

  14.    Reply

    I have locust beans seed for sale. How do u link me local buyers.

  15.    Reply

    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,

  16.    Reply

    Please, could you tell me where I might be able to find some Locust beans (whole, not the powder) in the U.S

    1.    Reply

      We are located in Croatia, and are able to supply LOCUST BEANS ( CAROB SEEDS), LOCUST BEAN PODS AND LOCUST BEAN FLOUR(milled/grinded pods) of the best quality, Croatian origin, natural/ecological cultivation. We don’t offer/produce LBG.

    2.    Reply

      There is somebody good in producing locust beans.

  17.    Reply

    its also known as ogiri..too

  18.    Reply

    Great post!

  19.    Reply

    what are the preservative method in case you want to keep locust bean for long?

    1.    Reply

      all you need to do for preservation is add salt and sundry it can be on fresh like that for a whole year

    2.    Reply

      Several methods for preserving locust beans, carob, iru or dawadawa include drying, fermentation and my mom’s favorite – salting.

      I found this awesome paper by scientists I.O Ogunleye and O. Awogbemi for you can check out here for details. Hope this helps.

  20.    Reply

    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!

  21.    Reply

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

    1.    Reply

      Hi Pamela: Locust beans is really awesome as long as it’s used in moderation.

  22.    Reply

    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

    1.    Reply

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