The initially matter that hits you is the scent. The pea-sized néré pods from the néré tree might be compact but they pack a powerful olfactory punch. Once remodeled into mouth watering soumbala, they’re a crucial addition to a host of classic foods eaten all across West Africa.

For this episode of the Star Ingredient, we’re travelling to Burkina Faso, the landlocked west African nation of 22 million people today, to fulfill Burkinabé chef and cafe manager, Franceline Tranagda.

She is 1 of Burkina Faso’s most fiercely fully commited advocates of her indigenous country’s regular dishes and has devoted considerably of her life to marketing a food stuff society that she describes in french as “bon, propre et juste”. Fantastic, clean up and truthful.

But there is one component that has loomed large over all some others in her culinary imagination.

From her girlhood times earning sauce with her mom to producing foodstuff products and solutions with fellow Burkinabé women in her community restaurant, Delwende, the incontournable, the ‘must have’ component, has generally been Soumbala.

This fermented seed condiment is made from the seeds of the néré tree which is developed extensively throughout West Africa. Normally well prepared around the class of many times, it often comes in the sort of soumbala balls that are utilized to flavour every little thing from meat and stews to soups and rice. 

“The odor is similar to camembert. Yeah, I usually say it is like camembert or African mustard,” states Franceline.

“It has a potent odor. But when you never incorporate the soumbala, you can sense that there is some flavour missing”.

Franceline grew up in Burkina Faso’s thrumming money of Ouagadougou.

Like lots of of the chefs we have encountered more than the class of this collection, Franceline’s enthusiasm for food was cultivated and nurtured at household.

She picked up her culinary abilities by seeing her mom, her grandmother and her neighbours put together common Burkinabé foodstuff as a youthful lady.

Born into a modest relatives, Franceline credits the actuality that both of those her parents were school instructors who valued education with supplying her a head get started in daily life. As an grownup, she has endeavoured to share her great fortune with other people.

In 1999, Franceline launched Femmes de l’avenir, Women of the foreseeable future, an affiliation to help marginalised Burkinabé women of all ages accessibility smaller loans and make their have incomes.

But it wasn’t right up until Franceline turned included with the worldwide Slow Food stuff motion that she resolved to mount a challenge that could marry her twin passions: Assisting Burkinabé girls bolster their independence and promoting community, traditional dishes.

The result was the restaurant Delwende.

“This restaurant has a definitely critical mission simply because lengthy expression, I want to open a education centre for planning area dishes where by I coach youthful females and housewives who really do not know how to cook dinner our regular meals,” Franceline clarifies.

At Delwende, Franceline performs with local women, preparing dishes for the group, inviting them to share in a wide variety of regular Burkinabé fare like gonré, zamné, boal boala, babenda and of study course, soumbala rice.

The philosophy at the rear of the task is simple. “It’s actually to take in what we produce…We need to have to have this maturity, this lifestyle of getting able to take in what we develop and take in neighborhood elements, ones that are obtainable in our state that we can use and value,” claims Franceline.

But guarding culinary heritage only partly points out the urgency of Franceline’s mission.

In accordance to the Environment Meals Programme, in 2022, 3.5 million men and women confronted acute food insecurity in Burkina Faso. Political instability and conflict, pushed by an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the north and east of the nation, have made an progressively volatile food-safety circumstance.

Nowadays, activities past the country’s borders, like the Russia-Ukraine war, are also building the country even much more susceptible to foodstuff provide shocks and soaring prices.

At the coronary heart of Franceline’s mission is a want to encourage foodstuff sovereignty in Burkina Faso by championing the altering Burkinabé attitudes to their personal traditional meals.

And as you’ll listen to in this podcast, for her, the greatest place to start off is within her very own neighborhood.

Franceline’s Boal Boala recipe


For the soup

Soumbala, built from boiled néré seeds

  • Rice
  • Meat of your picking (hen, mutton or beef)
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Oil

For the dough balls


  • Fry the onions and tomatoes in oil for a handful of minutes, then insert to water in a pot.
  • Incorporate your meat and soumbala to the pot and deliver the drinking water to the boil. Then let it simmer.
  • Knead the millet flour and drinking water together to make smaller balls of dough.
  • Include the dough balls to the soup.
  • Permit the soup simmer for an additional several minutes till the meat is cooked and the flavours arrive collectively. Then provide.

Bon appetit!

If you are hungry for extra recipes and tales all around indigenous African elements, hear to the preceding episodes of our collection.

The podcast The Star Ingredient was funded by the European Journalism Centre, as a result of the Solutions Journalism Accelerator. This fund is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Basis.

By Taba