Odika

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Odika is a processed product sometimes also referred to as “indigenous chocolate.” It is made from the nuts of the wild mango fruit (Irvingia gabonesis). The fruit tree is very common in western and central Africa. It is largely consumed by the local populations in this area and is also known as bush mango, African mango or dikanut plant. The tree can be up to 37 m tall. The fruit looks like a mango and its color changes from green to yellow when ripe. The flesh is very juicy, with a bittersweet taste and is sometimes used to make juice or jam. The nuts are used in different ways depending on local traditions.   In Gabon people harvest the fruit and cut it in half to get the nut inside. After that, the nuts are dried in the sun for a few days. Then they are grilled before being crushed with a mortar until forming a homogeneous paste. It is put into a container and once it solidifies it is taken out of these tins and kept in dried blocks, which store better. To make the famous odika sauce, people scratch the block to obtain the desired quantity of the nut powder that is then warmed until melting. The sauce obtained is oily and tastes like chocolate. It is used in different dishes as a seasoning. Various ingredients can be cooked with the sauce to make a complete meal, including smoked fish, tomatoes, manioc, yam or rice. Odika sauce can be conserved for 3 to 4 days, while in its solid form it can be kept for about a year or sold in local markets.   Odika is an important element of the food culture in Gabon, and has been made locally for generations. It has its origins in the southern part of the country, but is now found throughout Gabon. It is very often cooked for traditional ceremonies or special events such as weddings and birthdays, but can also be found as part of the everyday diet. However, despite its popularity, odika risks being lost because younger generations are less interested in learning and carrying out the production process, losing this traditional knowledge. If the specific transformation process is lost, odika will disappear from Gabon’s culinary traditions. 

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Territory

StateGabon

Other info

Categories

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Indigenous community:Bapunu, Mitsogo, Vili and Téké