Ndole ( Spinach/ Bitterleaves and Peanut Soup)

by ImmaculateBites on 4 November, 2012

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on TumblrEmail this to someone



At the top of my favorite Cameroonian food is Ndole, which is always present at parties ,and when cooked properly flies off the table. It is an absolutely irresistible combination of peanuts, bitter leaves ( substitute spinach), meat (stock fish, shrimp,) crayfish (dried shrimps) and oil. If I could eat this every day I would, It is rich, high in calories and loved by many. It  tastes like a stew spinach dip with all the spices and meat .

To make this recipe a little bit healthy cut back on oil and peanuts. If using fresh spinach, wash the leaves well, rinse properly and then chop the spinach and blanch for 2 minutes. Frozen chopped spinach works just as well. This dish is best with its time-honored mate, Miondo/Bobolo( fermented cassava ) or how my niece calls it “bobolow” and is exciting in the company of Plantains(boiled or fried).

Bitter leaf is one of those is one of those vegetables that can be cultivated anywhere as oppose to certain vegetables that can only flourish with certain temperatures and places .

So if you are a gardener you can plant it and enjoy fresh bitter leaf anywhere you are. True to its name bitter leaf is very bitter. You have to wash it (rubbing the leaves together) thoroughly before cooking till most of the bitterness is gone. Using bicarbonate soda can also aid in this process.






Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: African
  • 8 oz (1 cup) Groundnuts/Peanuts(Skinless)
  • ½ pound shrimp
  • ½ pound stockfish
  • ½ pound Beef
  • 4 garlic glove
  • 1 large Onion
  • ¾ cup Crayfish(ground)
  • 2 Tablespoon Maggi( Bouillon)
  • 1 pound Bitter leaves(Spinach)
  • 3 cup oil
  1. In a large pan season meat with salt, maggi and onions and boil until tender depending on the choice of meat. Meanwhile, boil stock fish with salt and water; add it to the boiled meat. You should have about 3 cups of stock from the meat and stock fish. Reserve the rest or freeze it.
  2. Boil peanuts for about 10 minutes in a sauce pan. Let it cool and blend/pulse in a food processor or blender into a fine consistency use water to facilitate the blending .Add to the mixture of beef and stockfish.
  3. Blend one onion and garlic into a fine paste and add to the mixture of peanuts and meat.
  4. Pour in the crayfish and let it simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently to prevent burns. Season with salt and Maggi. You might have to add more later
  5. Add the bitter leaves or spinach to the pot. Stir and simmer for several minutes more
  6. While the pot of ndole is simmering, heat oil in a fry pan or, preferably a cast iron. Add the shrimp, stirring constantly until they just turn pink. Slice and add the remaining onions stir for a few more minutes.
  7. Finally incorporate the mixture of shrimp, onions and oil into the pot of Ndole. Stir for a few minutes and serve hot with any of the sides mentioned above.
If using dry bitter leaves soak overnight and cook for 15minutes using 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda .Rinse thoroughly and drain Soak stockfish overnight to help tenderize the fish

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

kelsey July 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Hi Imma, I am wondering why some Ndole looks greenish when cooked than others. I really like my Ndole to look green but don’t know how or is it because I use dried bitter leaf? I mix spinach and bitter leaf for my Ndole. Also, I never knew I could use spinach alone to prepare Ndole because I always mix it with bitter leaf. Thank you!!


Africanbites July 10, 2013 at 3:43 am

Kelsey where do you get your bitter leaves? I think it makes a huge difference, ndole that has a pronounce green color uses fresh bitter leaves or one that has been lightly dried. Some African stores now carry fresh bitter leaves packaged by Nina International. I just picked up one in Maryland and have yet to try it. I do not buy the dried bitter leaves from the store anymore.

I have cooked ndole with spinach only and it taste great. However, you do not get the bitter flavor which gives ndole it’s distinctive flavor.


Uncle Bill May 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Greetings from Montana,I am Uncle Bill,I also love to cook African Food,I have been lucky to have friend from there who teach me the “Real Stuff” As you can think African Ingredients are hard to find here in Montana! I have Friends send me Palm oil & Palm Butter,and some times Palm Wine. I love your web-site,Uncle Bill


ImmaculateBites May 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Thanks Uncle Bill, I know what you mean about hard to find ingredients. Right now I need good quality crayfish. Thanks for stopping by!


jason May 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm

how bitter should this ndole taste? i made some using bittermelon leaves…is that a good alternative to bitter leaf? i can only find bittermelon leaves in my area. the dish tastes pretty good but i think i added toooo many bittermelon leaves, as it was a bit too, well…bitter. hehe. next time i won’t add as much bittermelon leaf.


ImmaculateBites May 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Jason, bitterleaf should be slightly bitter after washing. What I do is add spinach to the soup to counter the bitterness. Thanks for stopping by!


Jaff June 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

What do you mean by 1 pound of bitterleaf? im not too clear on the ‘pound’ measurements here. Ndole here is usually sold as round sizeable lumps, about the size of an orange, and already washed. So by 1 pound do you mean 1 lump?
Thanks for the recipes. Tried your mbongo the other day and it was a blast at home!


ImmaculateBites June 6, 2014 at 5:01 am

Jaff, I measured out the ingredients in pounds. So it is easier to know the exact measurement. I live in Los Angeles and everything is sold by the pound. We get our bitter-leaves dried from Africa or African Markets.


carine July 23, 2014 at 3:31 am



Lang April 12, 2015 at 8:06 pm

can I substitute almond for peanut


ImmaculateBites April 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

I don’t see why not. Let me know how it works for you!


Cassandra April 29, 2015 at 6:01 am

Do you use raw peanuts as the sauce base or do the peanuts need to be roasted? Thanks.


ImmaculateBites April 29, 2015 at 10:31 am

I do not roast the peanuts I use raw peanuts- boil them,then blend. It is most often made with peanuts that have their skin removed . However, you can use peanuts with skin if you can’t find the latter.


Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:  

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: