‘I had a dream’ – A West African woman’s chilli legacy is bottled to become a delicious spicy oil and sauce
A chilli oil and sauce born from an old Cameroonian recipe that came to their creator in a dream, have been launched under the Mama Ntsama brand by Ntsama’s Chill Oil and Sauces Ltd.
Nigerian-born Joyce Gannon, the power behind Mama Ntsama, who has lived in the UK most of her life: “I met Mama Ntsama when she came to visit a friend of mine some years ago. She brought a container of her chilli oil with her and, when I tasted it, I was hooked immediately! Mama Ntsama was a crafty old lady, though, and guarded her recipe carefully, mostly because she got so much pleasure from making it herself and sharing it with people.
When my friend went to Cameroon to visit friends and family, she would bring me back a 5-litre container of the precious oil, which I would eke out over the following year. This wasn’t easy, as it was so delicious that I used it on practically everything!”. Joyce was afraid that Mama Ntsama’s recipe might ultimately be lost and her fears were indeed realised: “Mama Ntsama kept telling me that she would pass her recipe on, but she never did until one
day it was sadly too late. As my last container of her oil started to run out, I began trying to replicate it for myself without success.
Then, one night, I had the most extraordinary dream, in which I saw quite clearly Mama Ntsama going through every stage of making her chilli oil. Well, I woke up feeling like I had won the lottery and quickly wrote down everything I had seen before I could forget. When I tried preparing my next batch of chilli oil, according to what I had seen in my dream, it was a real ‘Eureka!’ moment – it tasted exactly like Mama Ntsama’s own oil. I was over the moon and straightaway named
my oil Mama Ntsama in honour of that wonderful old lady.” Joyce states that as she and her friends enjoyed Mama Ntsama’s chilli oil so much, she thought it would be worth seeing if there was a wider market for it, which led to the formation of a real cottage industry. Mama Ntsama’s chilli oil and sauce are hand-prepared from the finest Scotch Bonnet chilies and one or
two other secret ingredients.
At the moment, production and bottling involve the whole family and Joyce reports that she is selling several hundred bottles in the UK each month, so the work is quite demanding. She hopes to break into the thriving UK food market and maybe even open up an export market.
For the moment this delicious oil, which is ideal as a dipping oil or for adding to recipes to give all cooking that special chilli edge, is available from the company’s website, where sample recipes can also be viewed. A happy by-product of the chilli oil preparation process is used to make an equally-delicious
chilli sauce of Joyce’s own creation, but inspired by Mama Ntsama.
Additionally, Joyce has created a phenomenal chilli jelly using apples instead of gelatin, so it’s 100% vegan-friendly as well as a deliciously rich chilli and roast pepper sauce. Joyce concludes: “I know there are many other chilli products on the market today, but Mama Ntsama’s chilli oil is prepared in a unique way, which gives it a unique and unforgettable taste. Mama Ntsama made her oil a real labour of love and I want to share that with other people who also love the way good
food brings people together.
Oh – and the recipe’s still a secret!” Joyce has now gone on to extend her line and has introduced a range of Chilli Oil and Sauce flavours. From the Classic flavour to Lemon and Thyme and Garlic and Ginger! All Mama Ntsama products can be ordered online from www.ntsama.co.uk, where more information on the Oils and Sauces can be found. Our aim is to spread the warmth using natural products with no additives, tons of flavour and a whole lot of spice!