Let’s cook ERU!


About The Dish

Eru is an African wild vegetable. Eru is the common name used for two very similar vines of the species Gnetum africanum and Gnetum buchholzianum. Eru leaves are eaten raw, or added to soups, fish and meat dishes. Both species of eru are nutritious and an important source of protein, minerals etc. This post explains how us Cameroonians cook Eru.


  • Sliced eru
  • Palm oïl
  • Sliced water leaf or spinach (fresh and very mature leafs)
  • Small shrimps or cray fish
  • Cod fish or stock fish
  • Pepper (ground)
  • Maggi crevette or bouillon cubes
  • Salt
  • Smoked cow skin (contains collagen)
  • Onion

    Things You’ll Need

  • Cooking pot
  • Colander
  • Kitchen knife
  • Cutting board
  • Stirring spoon
  • Grinder or blender
  • Serving bowls or plates


·         Make sure your eru is well sliced. That is, in small pieces and washed in clean. It must be washed in a lot of much water to remove sand.

·         Eru was an obscure forest food for a long time in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Originally consumed by Cameroon’s forest-dwelling Bayangi people, eru is now one of Cameroon’s most widely consumed vegetables. Hundreds of tons of eru are exported every week to Nigeria where it is known as okazi and overseas for consumption by Central and West Africans living abroad.

·         The palm oil should be of good quality, red and with no smell.

·         Eru has traditional non-food uses as well. In Nigeria, the leaf of Gnetum africanum is used in the treatment of an enlarged spleen, and sore throats. In DRC, it is used for nausea and in an antidote for poison from traditional poison darts. In Congo-Brazzaville, the leaves of both species are used to dress warts and boils, and the stem is cut-up and eaten to reduce pain in childbirth. In Cameroon, the leaves are sometimes chewed to lessen the effects of drunkenness. The supple vine is often used in rope-making.


     1 Boil the cow skin with a bit of salt, maggi bouillon and pepper. Boil with a bit of water, about 3 cups, depending on the quantity of meat. Make sure it’s ready and soft.

  2 Wash the eru. Put it in a colander to drain, then wash the sliced water leaf or spinach also and drain.


 Do not squeeze the spinach or water leaf when washing because it is slimy. Just put it in water, rinse, then leave to drain. 

   3 Add the water leaf or spinach. When the cow skin is ready, together with the stock fish, add the water leaf or spinach and leave for a few minutes. 

  4 Stir the water leaf or spinach and make sure it looks cooked. Then add the eru while stirring. Be aware that this process is very delicate because you need to make sure you don’t put in more eru than the water leaf or spinach can take.

  5 Pour in the palm oil and add the stock fish if you didn’t do so at the beginning. Leave for a while to cook. Beware: DO NOT COVER THE POT!(so that the vegetable remains green). Make sure to remove all the bones in the fish before putting it in the pot.

6 Add the pepper, cray fish (ground to a dusty powder), maggi bouillon and salt. In just a few minutes, your eru is ready.

     7 Serve while it’s hot. It can be served with pounded water fufu, garri, in short anything fufu made from cassava.




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