Eshabwe/Ghee sauce

Eshabwe is a class of clarified butter that originated in Ankole and is commonly used as condiment. It is a traditional dish prepared in Ankole. The dish is usually prepared for special ceremonies or occasions.

In the traditional marriage ceremonies of the Ankole community, four people taste the dish, the groom and his father and also the paternal aunt (ishenkazi) and maternal uncle (nyinarimi) of the bride. Eshabwe was served in an orwabya (clay bowl with lid). Traditionally, it was made by old women in a room where they had to be silent because it was believed that talking would make the eshabwe turn out poor.

However, this has changed and eshabwe is served like any other dish to everyone. Eshabwe is served as a condiment with the main course meal e.g. karo (millet bread), potatoes, matooke, beans and others.


  • Mature ghee
  • Rock salt
  • Cold water
  • Salt


1. Dissolve both the rock and table salt in 75ml (half) the warm water. The water should be warm and not hot.
2. Sieve the solution with two nylon sieves to trap any impurities in the salt.
3. Put the ghee in a small, clean bowl and stir it briskly with a small wooden masher in one direction, until smooth. If you do not have one, use a wooden spoon instead.
4. Add the salt solution, a tablespoonful at a time, stirring briskly after each addition.
5. The ghee should begin to thicken and turn white.
6. Continue adding a little of the salt solution and stirring briskly until the ghee increases in volume, is smooth, thick and pure white.
7. If the ghee curdles (looks like spoilt milk), add a little more salt solution with some of the lukewarm water. All this should be done gradually, a little at a time.
8. When the eshabwe has doubled in volume, is very thick, creamy and pure white, taste a little and add a pinch of table salt if necessary. You may dilute the sauce a little with the remaining lukewarm water but this should be done a tablespoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition. If it is still too thick, dilute further with previously boiled, tepid water, but the final product should be a sauce that is thick and not runny.
9. Sieve with a fine sieve into a clean bowl and serve as a side dish with steaming hot matooke, karo(millet bread), cassava, sweet potatoes, a sauce of your choice and greens.

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