The wonder oil of the North: Moo-ya (Shea butter)
As ghee is to the Banyankole so is Moo-yaa (Shea butter) to the Acholi. It is a brown cream extracted from seeds of a wild deciduous Karite or Shea tree locally called yaa which largely grows in the northern region of the country. The name simply means oil from the yaa tree.
The butter extracted from the shea tree forms a great part of the northern cuisine as it is often added to different meals or eaten independently as a cream of sorts. Moo-yaa gives food an admirable aroma. It can be bought in different restaurants that serve traditional Northern cuisine or groceries in districts in the north.
Extracting the butter locally
To get moo-yaa from the seeds you will need a motor, grinding stone, a sauce pan and a fire.
•The brown Shea nuts are washed and dried then roasted preferably over burnt firewood to remove the outer coats.
•They are then crushed and mixed with sand or ash (to prevent them from burning).
•After about 30 minutes, the roasted seeds are washed separating it from sand, dried and left to cool.
•These seeds are then pounded in a mortar to form a paste which is later grinded on a grinding stone locally called kidii (Acholi) to form a fine paste.
•This paste is put in boiling water until its oil forms an immiscible layer at the top.
•The oil is carefully decanted into a clean container. Note: Don’t let the oil mix with bottom contents because it will affect the taste making it bitter. The bottom contents are locally used as wood preservative.
•The oil is left to cool, making sure it’s free from any debris for at least a day then it’s ready for use.
Via (The Daily Monitor’s Uganda @ 50 series)