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Mbongo Tchobi is a spicy black stew typically eaten by the Bassa people of Cameroon. Its deliciousness has made it gain popularity in other parts of the country. The key ingredient is the intensely aromatic mbongo spice, from which the stew derives its name. It is burnt then ground before cooked into a sauce, hence the black colour.


The already ground black spice is widely sold in Cameroon and colloquially called, “mbongo spice” or “epice mbongo” in French.

In other parts of the world, it can be gotten from select African shops. Other ingredients used in the stew include tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and a nutty seed called njangsa in Cameroon, typically used in making peppersoup.


Mbongo, as it is fondly called is typically eaten with a starchy side like plantains or yams. I ate mine with white yam because there’s nothing like some boiled crumbly African yam.


Watch me whip it up in the video below. Enjoy!

mbongo tchobi

Mbongo Tchobi - Cameroonian Black Stew

5 from 4 votes
This is a black stew typically eaten by the Bassa people of Cameroon. It is spicy, earthy and nutty.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 large fish of choice (I used tilapia) about 2 pounds
  • 4 teaspoons ground mbongo spice
  • 30 seeds njangsa
  • 2 seeds African nutmeg (Ehuru/Pebe) peeled
  • 3 small seasoning cubes (Maggi)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large tomatoes (or four small ones) roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 celery stalk - chopped
  • 1/2 stem of leeks - chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves- peeled
  • 1/2 inch ginger root - peeled
  • 1/2- 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 1 habanero/hot pepper (optional)
  • 2 stems green onions (optional) for garnishing


  • Clean the fish and cut into steaks. Rinse well, sprinkle a pinch of salt over and set aside.
  • Put into a blender the tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, leeks, celery, African nutmeg, njangsa, mbongo spice, half the onion together with half a cup of water. Blend into a paste.
  • Pour the blended mixture over the fish and let it rest.
  • In a pot, heat vegetable oil. Chop the other half of onion and saute in the oil until fragrant.
  • Add fish and spice mixture into sauteed onions. Scatter Maggi cubes over it and salt. If using white and hot pepper, add them at this stage.
  • Cover and let it cook for about 15 minutes. After that, open and taste to make sure the seasoning is perfect. At this point, you could add a little water to lighten up the stew if it is too thick for you. Allow to cook for another five minutes. 
  • Serve warm with boiled yams or plantains.


You could use chicken or pork instead of fish in this recipe.
If you wish, blend your hot pepper together with the other ingredients. If not, add it whole.


Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 32g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 1095mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1180IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cameroonian
Calories: 572
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at YouTube.com/PreciousKitchen.

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5 from 4 votes

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  1. Should I say I come here everytime I want to cook mongo bc I can’t keep all the spices in my head😂😂😂😂😂😂😂.thanks mama P. I do follow u on fb too

  2. I found all of the ingredients except Mbongo spice. Do you know if there is a large difference between Mbongo spice and alligator pepper? I’ve seen some places say that they are the same and some say that they are slightly different. I really want to make this recipe but want to make sure I can do it properly!

    1. Hi EJ, I can’t really tell you the difference between those 2 but I know the Mbongo spice we usually buy is a combination of spices, not just one spice. Hope this brings some clarity.

      1. Thanks! I found the mixture of spices online. I made this and was very happy with it! Just how I remembered it in Cameroun 🙂