Cassava leaves recipe: saka-saka or pondou

Cassava leaves are one of the most popular dish in the Congo. They are served during big family diners and special occasions such as weddings, birthday parties, kids baptism and Eucharist. It a pretty complicated dish to prepare. Normally the first step is to pound the leaves in a big mortar with its pillar. This is the traditional way of getting the leaves ready.

However, modern life has saved us from that step. So we get buy already pounded cassava leaves in the store. There are plenty of brand to Choose  from.  And in the Congo Brazzaville there are two versions of cassava leaves . Here are the ingredients forversion number ;


  •  2 lbs of cassava leaves
  • 1/ 2 liter of palm oil or olive oil
  • 2 to 3 onions
  • garlic
  • scallions
  • 2 green peppers
  •  2 tea spoons black pepper
  • 3 fish
  • 2 big eggplant
  • 1 can of peanut butter

In a big pan, put the cassava leaves and add 1/2 liter of  water. Let it boil until the water completely dry out add an other 1/2 liter of water. Let it dry out again . This step is really important because it helps get rid of the green color of the cassava leaves . Once the leaves turn into a more yellowish green , cut the eggplants into pieces add them to the pan with another 2 cups of water or 1/2 liter.

Meanwhile, wash and cut onions, garlic, scallions and green peppers. Then put them in a blender to get  a purée.  Add it the pan along with salt and black peppers.  Let it boil until it completely blend with the cassava leaves an the eggplants.

Meanwhile, in another pan, put the fish to a boil. Once it is cooked, get rid of the bones and add it to the cassava leaves pan and follow it with the peanut butter. Let it cook at a low temperature. Once the peanut butter is completely melted and blended with the cassava leave, the next step will be to add the palm oil.

For this last step, cut another onion and 4 to 6 garlic into pieces. In a frying pan pour a 1/2 liter of palm oil . Once the oil is hot add garlic and onions to it. Once these are cooked pour the oil into the cassava leaves pan. Let it boil for another 15 to 30 minutes at low temperature. Your cassava leaves are ready to be served.

tip: serve your cassava leaves with rice, foufou and either fried fish or chicken.

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