Tuesday 20 February 2024

Ose Oji - Igbo Spiced Peanut Butter (Okwa Ose)

One of the great things about being married to someone from a different part of Nigeria is learning about new food combos and meals that I didn’t grow up eating. My latest discovery is this spiced peanut butter and garden egg situation, an Igbo delicacy that is often served to guests at parties. 

This hearty Igbo dish of spiced peanut butter paired with crunchy garden eggs is a staple at big family gatherings, weddings, and any occasion where good vibes are a must. In this post, we'll delve into the origins, significance, preparation, and serving traditions of Ose Oji, inviting you to appreciate why it's more than just food for the Igbo people of Nigeria. 

Origins and Cultural Significance

Peanuts (groundnuts), introduced to West Africa by Portuguese explorers during the 16th century, quickly became a staple crop. The Igbo, located in the eastern region of Nigeria, crafted this dish, blending the rich, creamy texture of peanuts with the spicy zest of local spices and the unique taste of garden eggs (African eggplants).

Ose oji is traditionally served to guests at significant events such as weddings, funerals, and title-taking ceremonies, a cultural symbol of hospitality and goodwill.

Ingredients and Preparation

The preparation of Ose Oji is an art form, requiring precision and patience. The primary ingredient is peanuts, roasted to perfection, which forms the base of this savoury spread. The peanuts are then blended with a mix of traditional spices, including ehuru (African nutmeg).

The spiciness comes from the addition of fresh or dried pepper, which can be adjusted to your desired heat level. The blend is ground into a smooth paste, sometimes with the addition of a little oil to achieve the perfect consistency. Although the paste is traditionally made by pounding the peanuts in a large mortar and pestle, modern chefs can make use of food processors to achieve the smooth peanut butter.


450g roasted peanuts
1 tbsp ground chilli pepper
2 tsp ground ehuru (African calabash nutmeg)
1 vegetable stock cube


1. Combine the roasted peanuts, chilli pepper, ground ehuru and vegetable stock cube in a food processor and blend until the mixture becomes smooth and the peanut has released its oil.

2. Serve with a handful of fresh garden eggs (or Thai eggplant).

The peanut butter can be stored in an airtight jar or container and keep refrigerated. 

Serving Traditions

Ose Oji is traditionally served with garden eggs, which offer a fresh, crisp, slightly bitter counterpoint to the creamy richness of the peanut butter. The garden eggs are either raw or slightly blanched, sliced or left whole.

Beyond garden eggs, Ose Oji can also be served alongside kola nut, boiled yams, or even bread, making it a versatile dip.

Nutritional Value

Aside from its cultural significance, Ose Oji is nutritionally rich. Peanuts are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin E. Garden eggs are low in calories but high in fiber, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet. This dish is a healthful blend of nutrients, offering a delicious way to enjoy traditional Nigerian flavors while maintaining a nutritious diet.

Ose Oji is more than just a dish; it's a celebration of Igbo culture, tradition, and hospitality. Whether served at a grand occasion or enjoyed as a simple snack, it offers a window into the rich culinary heritage of the Igbo people.

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