Ogbono is the seed of a wild (bush) mango plant called dika or the African-mango (Irvingia gabonensis) used in preparing a protein rich delicacy called ogbono soup .
This plant grows freely in the tropical rain forest of Africa, and its fruit, the African bush mango is eaten all across this region, from Senegal, via Nigeria, Angola to Uganda.
The Ogbono also called ogbolo or etima seed, when ground and combined with vegetables and spices and cooked with fish and or meat, is used to make the popular ogbono soup in Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone.
While fruit juice, jellies, jam, margarine, soap, dika vegetable oil and other derivatives are been made from the fruit of the wild African mango, its kernel, the seed continue to find the widest use and brings in the greatest income.
The seed is ground dried and when used as a soup thickener, produces a thick slippery gelatinous mixture, with a "very rich very earthly" unique flavor also rich in protein.
Like okra, it is used in preparing "draw soup" that brings in a mouth watering tang flavor to the African palate. this soups (draw soups) are popular and found very appetizing, as well as easy eaten because they are great lubricants, helping to slid bolus of starch dough or foofoos down the throat.
Ogbono seed is obtained by collecting the bush mango's seed, split this to obtain a pearly white ovoid kernel that is sun dried.
The kernel is then ground into a powdery form, used as the food thickener. Ogbolo or apon or dika, etima, is perhaps the most powerful of food thickener known to Africans.
A little is need to tremendously increase the viscosity of the soup been cooked.
Traditionally, leafy vegetables, stock fish, dried chili peppers, ground crayfish, kpomo or cow skin, bush meat and other assorted meat are used in preparing the soup that derives its name from this seed.
... A word of warning: when using ogbono seed, make sure you avoid those with damp or greenish brown mold. Those infested with mold should be selected out and thrown away. They contain fungi that produce afla-toxins implicated in some liver diseases.
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