Tikar’s spicy peanut butter

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

The spiced peanut butter of the Tikar people is made from peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), a plant originating in South America which has been diffused in other parts of the world, among them tropical Africa. It is high in fat and often made into butter, in many different countries.

Peanuts play an important part in the culture of the Cameroonian Tikar people, who have been growing them for a long time. Their traditional chants sung during the seeding testify this. They are sung in order to praise the earth, which will receive the seeds and make them grow: seeding and harvesting is not only an act of nourishment, but also of spirituality. Peanuts are harvested during the rainy season, which is also the season in which they were captured to be sold as slaves. This is why, even nowadays, very deep trenches can be found around villages and fields, built for defense against slave traders.

Peanut butter is still common among the Tikar, but changes in eating habits and numerous industrial versions competing with this artisan production are putting it at risk of disappearing.

Spiced peanut butter is made after drying the peanut seeds in the sun for more than 10 days. In order to facilitate dehulling, they are mixed with sand and sea salt and roasted in a pan over low heat. This is a delicate moment and requires attention to avoid burning the seeds. Once roasted, the seeds are easily separated from the skins and they are then crushed with a stone to obtain a paste, to which pieces of chili, African black chili and salt are added. The resulting butter can be conserved for some years and is used in the preparation of sauces and sweets. After a while, the water part of the butter separates: it can be used for cooking. Preparing spiced peanut butter requires patience and rigour, nowadays few people make it in accordance with the traditional method.

Back to the archive >

Territory

StateCameroon
Region

Centre

Other info

Categories

Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Indigenous community:Tikar
Nominated by:Alexandre Monchi