Ndole is one of the most cherished national dishes of Cameroon. You can’t relate with Cameroonians for long without eating some ndoleh. We take pride in serving our guest with this delicacy. It is a must have on any Cameroonian party table, you will likely have a dissatisfied guest if that is missing. Some people call it ndoleh, it could be a very difficult word for some to pronounce though. Ha, one of my colleagues used to call it ni-dole. The pronunciation doesn’t matter okay, all that matters is
having the right ingredients when making this vegetable.
This dish is simply vegetable and peanut stew, with a combination of beef and lots of other spices(we love spices). When making the classic ndole, you make use of bitter leaf (vernonia amygdalina) which I kind of disliked the long processing (sorting, cutting, wash and rewash). But in this recipe, I am going with frozen spinach, fresh spinach is equally fine.
If you have to use bitter leaf, then you have to first of all chop the leaves, then bring water to boil, add in some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The baking soda helps in eliminating the bitterness and also softens the leaves. Add in the chopped leaves, allow to boil for 30 minutes, then remove, strain, rub the leaves together, rinse and squeeze. ‘Washing’ bitter leaf is not one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, reason why I use spinach more often. The only thing I miss when I substitute bitter leaf with spinach is the slightly bitter taste the former gives. The secret to making the best ndoleh is using lots of onions.
The many times I have served this dish to my non-Cameroonian friends, the feedback is always amazing. One friend actually proposed I open a restaurant after eating my ni-ndole. It is so tasty and special when paired with miondo (fermented cassava) ah the combo is just irresistible. As you will see in the video below: