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Recipe: Saka Saka Recipe (Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup)

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It’s still National Peanut Month, and I’m so excited to share yet another delectable peanut dish: Saka Saka recipe. Saka Saka is a simple but unique dish that brings together the finest ingredients from Central Africa. It is a rich blend of flavorful cassava leaves, creamy peanut butter, vegetables, and spices, carefully combined to create a delicious and unforgettable culinary experience.

Served with rice, fufu, or other starchy sides and crispy fried plantains, Saka Saka is a true gem cherished by many countries in the region, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its rich and diverse taste is sure to leave you wanting more, making it a must-try dish for anyone seeking to savor the authentic flavors of Africa.

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“Saka Saka” (also known as Mpondou, Mpondu, or Pondu) is the Congolese word for cassava and the dish made from them. The entire cassava plant is edible but while most people in other parts of the world cultivate cassava solely for its tubers, Central African people have a unique tradition of consuming cassava leaves as a delicious and nutritious green vegetable, making it the foundation of this dish.

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If you can access fresh cassava leaves, you’re in for an authentic and flavorful Congolese cassava leaf soup. However, if you live abroad, it may be challenging to find fresh cassava leaves. Fortunately, African grocery stores usually sell them frozen, and they’re just as good.

Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup
Cassava leaves: Alibaba.com.

Saka Saka is typically prepared with meat or fish (especially smoked fish), but this is a vegetarian version that uses vegetable broth as a substitute. The star ingredient of this dish is peanut butter. Peanut is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, complementing the wholesome goodness of the cassava leaves.

Preparing Saka Saka is a straightforward process, but it is not your regular quick dinner dish; it requires time and love. So you need to be patient with this dish and savor every step of the cooking process to ensure it turns out perfectly. 

Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup
Source: Les 2 Crocs

To start, carefully wash and boil the fresh cassava in salted water. Once boiled, pound or blend the leaves into a paste and cook with a flavorful combination of onion, garlic, vegetables, palm oil, and peanut butter. As these ingredients simmer together, a beautiful array of colors and aromas emerge, creating a truly mouth-watering experience. 

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Watch Congolese Grandma Lusamba and Carolina Shin make this Saka Saka Recipe (Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup) on “Cooking with Granny,” a renowned multicultural cooking channel featuring the best chefs of all times – our grandmothers!

Chef Grandma Lusamba is a Congolese immigrant residing in the US with her family, having overcome traumatic events that threatened to tear them apart back in Congo. As she prepares the recipe, she shares her inspiring story and takes you through the simple, easy-to-follow steps to make this traditional dish the Congo way.

Authentic Saka Saka Recipe (Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup)  

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds of cassava leaves 
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons palm oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped 
  • 2 small eggplants, diced (optional)
  • ½ pound spinach leaves
  • ½ habanero pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish: 

  • Chopped peanuts
  • Spicy sauce
  • Finely chopped parsley or green onion

Instructions 

  1. To prepare Saka Saka, wash the fresh cassava leaves with clean water and chop or grind them into tiny pieces. If using frozen cassava leaves, soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes.
  1. Next, boil the chopped cassava leaves in a large pot with 2 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes until tender.
  1. Meanwhile, heat a large pan and add a drizzle of palm oil. Saute the chopped onions until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add minced garlic and vegetable broth. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  1. Add the peanut butter to the pan, stir well, and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes.
  1. Once the cassava leaves are tender, add them to the pan with the palm oil and other ingredients. 
  1. Add ½ cup of water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  1. The neutral taste of the leaves absorbs the flavors of any spices, meats, and vegetables you add, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish. But be sure to taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  1. Finally, garnish your Saka Saka with chopped peanuts, spicy sauce, finely chopped parsley or green onions.
  1. Serve hot with rice or fufu and plantains. Bon appetite!

Authentic Saka Saka Recipe (Congolese Cassava Leaf Soup)

Congo
Mary Gialiam Elijah
Saka Saka is a simple but unique dish that brings together the finest ingredients from Central Africa. It is a rich blend of flavorful cassava leaves, creamy peanut butter, vegetables, and spices, carefully combined to create a delicious and unforgettable culinary experience.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Thawing Frozen Cassava Leaves 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine African
Servings 4
Calories 382 kcal

Equipment

1 Knife
1 Chopping board
1 Large pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds cassava leaves 
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons palm oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 green bell peppers roughly chopped
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 2 small eggplants diced (optional)
  • ½ pound spinach leaves
  • ½ habanero pepper chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish

  • chopped peanuts
  • spicy sauce
  • Finely chopped parsley or green onion

Instructions
 

  • To prepare Saka Saka, wash the fresh cassava leaves with clean water and chop or grind them into tiny pieces. If using frozen cassava leaves, soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes.
  • Next, bring the chopped cassava leaves to a boil in a large pot with 2 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes until tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large pan and add a drizzle of palm oil. Saute the chopped onions until they are soft and translucent.
  • Add minced garlic and vegetable broth. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the peanut butter to the pan, stir well, and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Once the cassava leaves are tender, add them to the pan with the palm oil and other ingredients. 
  • Add ½ cup of water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • The neutral taste of the leaves absorbs the flavors of any spices, meats, and vegetables you add, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish. But be sure to taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  • Finally, garnish your Saka Saka with chopped peanuts, spicy sauce, finely chopped parsley or green onions.
  • Serve hot with rice or fufu and plantains. Bon appetite!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 382kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 34gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 192mgPotassium: 983mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3125IUVitamin C: 67.7mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 4.3mg
Keyword Cassava, Peanut, Vegan
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Mary Gialiam Elijah
Mary Gialiam Elijah
I'm a passionate and professional writer who loves to write in the most conversational tone possible, top-notch content that engage, educate and inspire my readers.

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