Ark of taste
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Otonpienou is a condiment used to prepare sauces and dishes typical of Eastern Burkina Faso. It looks like small balls, and resembles soumbala. This product is prepared from the baobab fruit, which is one of the few non-wooden products of the forest. The local women peel the fruit that they call “bread of the monkeys” to collect the seeds. These are then washed and dried out immediately, and then boiled for 48 hours.
After cooking, the seeds are filtered and the used water is thrown out. The seeds are left to ferment for another 48 hours with a bit of potassium, as the seeds are somewhat bitter. Cotton seeds can also be added at this point in the preparation, but it is not mandatory. After two days the women cook the fermented seeds again, but without water this time, for an entire day: this makes the oil come out of the seeds and creates a paste. Small balls of this paste are then formed and sundried on mats for two days. This condiment is less and less widespread, as it takes a long time to prepare (a total of seven days).
Otonpienou can be conserved throughout the entire year, but it is only produced in the period from March to April. Besides its use as a condiment, the product can also be prepared as a sauce and used for dishes like porridge, rice, couscous, or other grains. The historic production area is eastern Burkina Faso (Kotchari). The quantity produced each year depends on how many baobab seeds are found. The product can be found for sale in local markets but only a very small amount is made; indeed, it is usually prepared for the family’s personal consumption. Otonpienou is at risk of disappearing because the preparation takes a long time, which is why today there is a tendency to substitute it with industrial broths. Furthermore, this product is strictly produced in the eastern portion of the country, unlike soumabala de néré which is found throughout Burkina Faso.

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StateBurkina Faso


Production area:Kotchari region, Tansarga department