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Likouala pepper

Likouala pepper

A wild pepper from Congo


Likouala pepper, also known as “Ashanti Pepper” is harvested by the Bayaka people in Congo. Ashanti pepper grows in the wild on vines which creep as high as 20 metres. It has a distinctive outstanding lingering taste and is used in the traditional Congolese dish “Grilled Ashanti chicken”.
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When to use Likouala pepper


How to use Likouala pepper

Try out our recipe ideas:

This delicately aromatic pepper with initial spicy notes and its mild bite, is perfect either whole or ground in stew type dishes as it withstands long cooking times. Its flavour develops deliciously with olive oil, and its aromas will enhance the flavours of seared or flash fried meat.


·         Chicken in white wine sauce with walnuts, goat’s cheese and Likouala pepper: mix the chunks of goat’s cheese and gingerbread together then add the chopped walnuts and chervil. Season with freshly ground Likouala pepper and salt (see the full recipe below);

·         Roast root vegetables: crack roughly 1 teaspoon of Likouala pepper over your vegetables before roasting;

·         Steak tartare: crack 5 peppercorns of Likouala pepper in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle over your steak before serving;

·         Soft fruit clafoutis: crack 2 teaspoons of Likouala pepper in a pestle and mortar and add to the clafoutis mixture before baking.


Chicken in white wine sauce with walnuts, goat’s cheese and Likouala pepper 


Ingredients for 4 people

For the vegetables:

4 black radishes;

1 lemon (juice);

10g butter;

1 teaspoon sugar.


For the stuffed chicken breasts:

60g goat’s cheese;

30g gingerbread;

10g chervil;

30g walnuts;

4 chicken breasts (150g);

10g butter.


For the wine sauce:

1 shallot;

5g butter;

15cl of Vouvray wine;

6 Likouala peppercorns;

10cl single cream.



Peel the black radishes, then rinse and place in a bowl of lemon juice and cold water so that they do not turn brown then strain. Cook them in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of water and the butter. Once cooked, deglaze with the sugar, ensuring they are well covered in melted butter and sugar. Set to one side.


Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Cut the goat’s cheese and the gingerbread into little cubes and chop the chervil. Mix these ingredients together then add the chopped walnuts. Season with freshly ground Likouala pepper and salt. Mix thoroughly. Fillet the chicken breasts then stuff them with the goat’s cheese and the gingerbread mix. Add some butter to a casserole dish then place the breasts in the dish and season with salt and Likouala pepper. Cook in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the dish and place on a plate and cover with cling film so that the Likouala pepper infuses. Use the casserole dish to make the sauce.


Warm some butter in the casserole dish then add the chopped shallots and fry. Add the wine, and deglaze. Reduce to half the volume then add the chicken stock and cream. Reduce once again, then season with salt and freshly ground Likouala pepper.

Serve the chicken breasts with the black radishes and cover generously with the hot white wine sauce.

The aromas of Likouala pepper


Its deliciously fresh scents and delicate aromas release notes of sweet spices, (clove, nutmeg), wrapped in fragrances of pine resin and juniper tar oil. These captivating and heady aromas are topped with hints of peppery mint and turpentine. After it has been aired a while, more fruity notes appear with hints of zesty fresh citrus fruit like lemon grass and kaffir lime.

Once cracked, the scent develops even more with notes of fresh menthol and delicate fragrances of rosemary and burnt sage with scents of Mediterranean heathlands. A few minutes later this delightful little pepper unleashes subtle fragrances of fresh lime and clementine like a warm citrus juice.

On the palate, the attack of this pepper is gentle and supple. It is only slightly spicy and almost fizzy. Then mid-palate, it releases a fresh sensation of menthol.

Likouala pepper and its botanical properties


How does Likouala pepper grow?

Ashanti or Gorilla pepper is harvested in North Congo and grows in the wild on vines which creep up trees more than 20 metres high. The pepper is picked by the Bayaka people from October to December in the dense forests of Likouala.


Once harvested, the pepper is scalded in boiling water for a few minutes to cleanse and sterilise it and to stabilise its colour.


The Congolese call it “ndongo bela” in lingala or “black pepper”. It is traditionally used by the Bayaka people for cooking game meat.


How to recognize Likouala pepper

This pepper grows in clusters of small round berries of about 3 to 4 mm in diameter, which are cardinal red to dark crimson in colour with a bright sheen. Like its cousin, Cubeb pepper (Piper cubeba), it has a small firm straight tail which makes it look like a mini cherry. Inside its pulp is white and milky, surrounded by another fleshy pale green layer.


Be careful not to confuse this wild pepper from Congo with Cubeb pepper or Voatsiperifery pepper. These three tailed peppers all have the same shape, come from the same botanical genus but their species and aromas are different.

A trip to Congo, to meet the Bayaka people


Erwann de Kerros talks of his journey to Congo.


The word "pygmy" was forbidden by Congolese law for its derogatory connotations. The native people are traditionally poorly treated by the Bantu ethnic majority. They are often employed to work on the land and are often paid with alcohol and tobacco.

The Bayaka people are considered as second-class citizens.

As most of them do not have any ID or nationality there is no way of knowing how many Bayaka people there really are.

They are semi-nomadic and move from forest to forest. Hunting and gathering remain to this day their main activities. The notion of ownership does not exist. It is the forest that nourishes and cares for them and they treasure their freedom.


A few minutes into our walk, the welcoming hot and humid forest surrounds us with its green silence.

Our friends walk ahead confidently, totally at home in their environment, laughing and joking as they go. The deeper we head into the heart of their home the forest, their happier they become.

Reacting to our surprise, they happily share their knowledge with us, eagerly answering our constant questions …

More Information
More Information
Allergen Absence
Native country CONGO
Genus and botanical species Piper guineense
Ingredients Likouala pepper
TRACES EVENTUELLES D'ALLERGÈNES céleri, sésame, moutarde, fruits à coques.