Understanding Nigerian Spices - Aridan

Aridan - Nigerian Spice
pic courtesy - chefaporter.com.br

The tetrapleura tetraptera tree is common to West Africa and it produces a rare and unusual spice with exceptional fragrant, sweet and aromatic properties. This spice is called Aridan (Yoruba dialect) or prekese by the Ghanaians.

From a Yoruba perspective, like kanafuru, this spice is not often used in cooking but more commonly used in traditional medicine. But this is not the case with the Ijaws and Itshekiris of Nigeria where it is particularly used in making traditional soups like pepper soup and palm nut soup.

Due to the taste and flavour this spice imparts to food, it is gaining popularity, though some chefs/foodies (including me) like to keep it a crucial "secret ingredient" for making dishes that possess additional humph, depth of flavours...

Aridan has a sweetish taste, and quite stringent.....its aroma is wonderful and is a culinary delight. I have used it in making delicious, clearly different tasting soups, but it can also be used in desserts and baking. (Check out chefaporter.com.br for some dessert recipes using aridan)

Its quite a challenge getting to use this spice. The longish, four pointed dried fruit from which the ground spice is derived, is rather hard and difficult to process. I found out that using a cheese grater to grate the corners of the plant, is the best method of collecting this spice. Grating helps to shave off the flesh of the fruit, leaving the really, really tough core which is best added whole to infuse and removed from the soup, before serving.

As well as adding to traditional soups, aridan is excellent for baking and making desserts..... that's according to chefaporter.com...... I have not tried it yet, but trust that I will be doing so shortly......

Advice: measure in tablespoons and remember that the longer the spice is left to infuse, the stronger the fragrance and flavour.

Read more about Nigerian Spices & Condiments here...



  1. In Calabar it's called Uyayak in the Efik language and it's used in Afia Efere, and Efere Abak (Banga soup) etc.



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