Iru (food)

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Dry iru cakes

Irú is a type of fermented and processed locust beans (Parkia biglobosa) used as a condiment in cooking. It is similar to ogiri and douchi. It is very popular among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is used in cooking traditional soups like egusi soup, okro soup, Ewedu soup and ogbono soup. Among the Manding-speaking people of West Africa irú is known as sumbala.The Yorubas classify iru into two types: Iru Woro which is commonly use in making stew and Iru Pete which is used in making ewedu and egusi soup.

It can be found fresh or dried. The fresh variety is usually wrapped in moimoi leaves, which are similar in appearance and texture to banana leaves. It has a very pungent smell.

The dried variety is flattened into discs or cakes for sale. Dried iru is weaker in flavor and pungency than fresh (though frying dried iru in cooking oil will restore much of the flavor). The dried variety stores very well in freezers.

The most valuable part of the locust beans are high in lipid(29%), protein(35%), and carbohydrate(16%). It is a good source of calcium and fat for rural dwellers.

During fermentation, the reducing sugar content increases, and the total free amino acid content initially decreases; in the end, however, there is a large increase in free amino acid content.[1]

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  1. ^ http://www.springerlink.com/content/q747434442605863/ Biochemical changes in fermented melon (egusi) seeds (Citrullis vulgaris) Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Publisher Springer Berlin / Heidelberg ISSN 1367-5435 (Print) ISSN 1476-5535 (Online) Issue Volume 6, Number 3 / November, 1990

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