African Walnuts Sauté

As part of my New Nigerian Cuisine quest, I explore every possibilities with my food ingredients. After so many years, I am now able to enjoy fruits such as African Walnuts, which by the way are most certainly a the more reason why I ought to be eating a lot lot more of them.
(Read more about African Walnuts here).

African Walnuts (locally called ukpa, ukporo, asala or awusa) are mostly eaten boiled, usually as a snack, when in season. I enjoy them this way, but I long for other ways to enjoy them, in particular, ways to make them a main dish, other then just a snack.

My grandmother has told me about how in those days, they substituted egusi with walnuts, when egusi was not readily available. She assures me that the bitterness experienced on drinking water after consuming boiled walnuts, is significantly reduced, due to the effect of the red palm oil used in making the soup. I have not given this a try yet, but I will be, very soon and will share my experience accordingly.

Back to now, I decided to cook my walnuts in some sauce to figure out what new tastes or flavours would emerge. So using some pre-made red pepper sauce, I sauteed the chopped walnuts in a pan with some seasoning (largely salt and black pepper and some onions). The taste was wow.....! Why haven't I been doing this before now....

I love walnuts, the taste, the crunchy texture, the mild flavour, everything about it, even the slightly bitter taste when I drink water afterwards....This is  the unique character of the fruit and I respect and love it for this reason..... So it was easy for me to love the sauteed version, and yes the bitter taste was reduced a little. (Actually the bitterness is attributed to the high levels of certain alkaloids and phytochemicals present in the fruit.....its not toxic and is perfectly safe for human consumption).

What you need
  • Lots of freshly boiled African Walnuts
  • Some pre-made red pepper sauce (recipe here)
  • Red onion chopped
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • Salt
  • Red Palm oil (or any other vegetable oil of choice)
What to do
  1. Shell the walnuts and remove the white fruit/nut from the kernel. Cut into quarters and set aside.
  2. Heat some red palm oil in a pan and brown the chopped onions. 
  3. Then add a generous amount of the pre-made red pepper sauce and stir well. 
  4. After a few minutes of stirring, add the chopped walnuts, some black pepper and salt to taste. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. 
  5. Allow to cook for another few minutes then serve. 
  6. Excellent served as a side dish, or as a warm salad with other veggies. 
  7. Can also be served with a bit of chicken or fish for a light lunch or dinner.



  1. I like this walnut tons. And reading your post has got me so so inspired. Right now my thoughts are along the lines of adding them in granola prep, baking, creaming them and adding them to smoothies maybe... What do u think???

    1. Dear Tharoun, thanks for stopping by.... your thoughts sound interesting,. I am always open to trying out new things, and I think that walnuts will work well in a smoothie. Their health benefits are enough reasons for me to explore different recipes incorporating them. Please do share your experiences/photos. Thanks for your interest and continued support.



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