Friday, June 27, 2008


[Cassava greens, as eaten in West Africa.]

Originally posted here:

A big bunch of cleaned sakasaka.
One onion, chopped.
A tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
One or two cloves garlic, minced.
One or two mild peppers, minced.
A palm-size piece of dried smoke-fish (substitute a tin of sardines, especially of you are British).
Three or four TBS palm oil.
A pinch of salt, and a pinch of wood-ash.

Chop and thoroughly bruise the sakasaka (and I do mean bruise - whack it with a rolling pin or a mallet). Simmer with plenty of water for an hour or two (the sakasaka should lose its toughness and fibrous quality). One the sakasaka is palatable, add everything else, and cook till the liquid is much reduced and the mass has become pulpy. Eat with fufu or rice.


Adding cooked white beans, lady fingers, or eggplant chunks to the sakasaka is authentic, popular, and good.

Sakasaka are cassava greens (feuilles de manioc), known by that name in the Congo, and as mpondu in other parts of central and western Africa. Cassava is also called manioc and yucca.

If you cannot find palm-oil, use moambé sauce (aka mwambe or nyembwé). Moambé sauce is a flavourful greasy pulp made by boiling mashed palm-nut fruits and straining out the kernels and skins. If even moambé sauce is unavailable (where ARE you living?!?!), just toss in some canned palm-soup concentrate (noix de palme, or sauce greine) into the pot.
Palm-oil, moambé sauce, and palm-soup concentrate add that authentic flavour to African foods - all are also good with meat stews and fricasseed chicken.

Some people add a scoop peanut butter or some coconut milk, either in addition or in-lieu of - this too is good.

The pinch of wood ash gives it the flavour of the crude salt used locally - a tiny pinch of baking soda is also good in this regard.

Fufu are West-African dumplings, very comparable to Surinamese Tongtong. Whatever starchy product is used (polenta, plantains, yams, manioc, etcetera) is first boiled till edible, than pounded to a paste resembling stiff mashed potato, and rolled into balls. These then are either dumped into soupy dishes (rather like matze-balls), or served as the staple on the side with the main-dishes and vegetable dishes, portions to be pinched off and sopped with the greens or sauces.

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