Health Benefits And Uses of “Dawa Dawa” You Should Know
Dawadawa, also known as African locust bean seasoning, is a flavoring made from the seeds of a deciduous, wide-spreading plant that can grow up to twenty meters in height. Meanwhile, Locust bean, commonly referred to as iru by Yorubas and dawa dawa by Igbos, is a local seasoning or condiment used in soups and stews. Both of these ingredients are highly valued in African cuisine due to their unique flavor and nutrition benefits.
The African locust bean, which has the botanical name Parkia biglobosa, is native to the Sudan and Sahel regions, from Senegal to Burkina Faso to Uganda. This food tree is the source of the highly nutritious néré pods. On the other hand, to make Dawadawa, the seeds are removed from the pulp and are boiled, covered in ash and pounded, dried in the sun, and then sent through another cleansing process by hand where they are cooked again to produce a sticky fermented mixture.
Uses of Dawadawa and Locust Bean
Dawadawa and Locust bean are commonly used as seasoning to enhance the flavor of cooked dishes. The black cakes or spheres of Dawadawa can easily be separated into pieces and added to soups or stews for added flavor. They can also be used to flavor rice dishes, noodle dishes, curries, or casseroles. Locust bean, on the other hand, is used in the preparation of stews, soups, and sauces.
Nutrition Benefits of Dawadawa and Locust Bean
Both Dawadawa and Locust bean offer numerous health benefits. Dawadawa is mostly known for its healing abilities and benefits that are good for the body. Some of these health gains include improving eyesight, treating stroke patients, reducing cholesterol in the human body, treating diarrhea, treating hypertension, helping control blood sugar levels, improving digestion, promoting a healthy weight, and reducing fever.
Similarly, Locust bean offers health benefits ranging from reducing cholesterol levels to improving blood sugar levels. It is also rich in dietary fiber, which helps in promoting a healthy digestive system. Additionally, Locust bean is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, iron, and potassium.
While Dawadawa is generally safe for consumption, it is important to note that the bark and leaves of the African locust bean tree are toxic. However, various reports suggest that the seeds and the young pods of the black locust are edible. Shelled seeds are safe to harvest from summer through fall and are edible both raw and/or boiled.
Dawadawa and Locust bean are highly valued ingredients in African cuisine. These flavorful and nutritious ingredients offer numerous health benefits and are commonly used in the preparation of soups, stews, and sauces. While Dawadawa is mostly known for its healing abilities and benefits, Locust bean offers health benefits ranging from reducing cholesterol levels to improving blood sugar levels. Overall, both ingredients are essential to African cuisine and are a must-try for anyone looking to explore African cuisine.
Below is a short documentary that talks more about Dawa Dawa;