Cameroon – Ndole

by Haman Kingah

Ndolé – Melting Flavours

Bitter leave is like any other green vegetable, but it is very bitter when not washed properly. Bitter leave has been said to be a medicinal plant back then. Our four-fathers used it to reduce high sugar level with patients suffering from diabetes. Though a more accurate treatment has been introduced to treat diabetes, our old parents still use the bitter leave. What they do is, for the preparation of bitter leave soup or Ndole, they will wash the leave the first time and the second time, they preserve the water. They use the water for a short while by dirking it rapidly, since it is bitter. This meal is prepared with other nutritional ingredients which are very nutritional too. We have groundnut, onions, meat etc. This are very nutritional additional ingredients you will add during preparation of Ndole. There are many other ingredients you will see below used during the preparation of Ndole. Bitter leave is said not to have a particular season it grows. It is said to grow both in the dry season and raining season. These are said to be the seasons in Cameroon. The bitter plants do well in these two seasons.  The slight different is the taste or rather the bitterness of the bitter-leave

In the dry and raining season

During the dry season, it is very bitter, and during the raining season, less bitter. Which means during the raining season, you less wash the leaves. 


  • Bitter leave (Show pic)
  • Onions 
  • Red meat
  • Caw- skin/Canda
  • Garlics 
  • Vegetable oil
  • White pepper
  • Groundnuts 


  • Wash your bitter well. 

Washing process

  • Pick your bitter leave. Put all in bag, add water in it, tie, and hit using a pistol. This helps to remove the bitter taste faster than washing with just your, though right after beating the bag for several minutes, you will still wash with your hands to make sure the bitter taste is eliminated. 
  • You could do this a day before, so that it saves cooking time. After washing, you could fold the scattered leaves together and slice using a Knife. Chop the leaves to tiny little pieces. Keep aside. 
  • Wash your red meat and caw-skin, slice, boil and keep aside. Don’t throw meat stock.


  • Grind your groundnuts keep aside. 
  • Grind your crayfish.
  • Grind your white pepper keep aside.
  • Slice your onions and keep aside.
  • In your main cooking pot, boil your grind groundnuts, cook for about 20min, add your chopped bitter leaves. Make sure you stir well. if too thick and difficult to stir, add water and stir well. Allow to cook for about 15min, Open pot and add some chopped onions, add your crayfish, add your boiled caw-skin, add your meat and meat stock. Stir well, add maggi and salt to taste. Stir well. Allow pot for 15mins more making sure you stirring after every 5mins.
  • In a fry pan, add some oil, heat up and fry your onions slightly. The aim is to cook the oil a little before adding into the pot of Ndole and to lost the raw oil taste. After doing that, remove and pour it into the pot of Ndole. Then stir well. Allow oil to cook with the entire ingredients of the pot for about 5min.
  • Remove and serve with fried ripe plantains or with boil ripe plantains or Bobolo as seen from the pic above.

Good Appetite…

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