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Sombe: Cassava Leaves Recipe

By Chiruza


Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8

In Democratic Republic of Congo, sombe is cassava leaves. Most people make this food for a ceremony and it is the most popular meal in Congo and it is very important in our Congolese culture and my tribe of Bamushi and culture. In my family, we make this food when everyone is there because it requires a lot of work. This food always makes me feel the connection with my siblings which we have and teamwork. One time we had a ceremony of introduction for one of my sisters then we cooked sombe because it is part of tradition to cook it then. I was among people who was helping in preparation of sombe that we cooked and it was very soft which make every one ask for the catering company which is helping in the preparation of the ceremony, so the company got many orders or invitation of going to cook so I was very happy because I was part of the team. This food makes me feel like I am in my home country. I feel connected to people because when we are squeezing it or making it to look like powder it needs a lot of energy and in most cases two to three people use a wooden mortar and pestle. My family’s recipe is unique because it brings unity and makes people become one. When you try this recipe, you will feel like you have a connection with your ancestors and you feel like you’re part of your family or tribe.

2 medium onions
2.5 pounds of cassava leaves
2 pounds of beef or salt fish or goat
1 small cup of palm oil
4 cups of water
1 big size of eggplant
2 bulbs of garlic
1/2 each green and red pepper
2.5 teaspoon of table salt

Tools & Utensils
Knife (for slicing and chopping)
Spoon (for stirring)
Measuring spoons
Large pot with a lid (to cover)
Cutting board (for preparation)
Grater (for garlic)
Wooden spoon

1. Measure the water and put salt after measuring.
2. Put the leaves of cassava in a saucepan.
3. Wait for water until it is boiled.
4. Pour your cassava leaves in the hot water.
5. Don’t cover the saucepan (because we don’t like the natural smell to remain, we want it to go out).
6. Wait for after some time then you can add your beef to your sombe.
7. Pour your sliced green pepper, sliced onion and garlic onto into sombe.
8. Add your pam oil to your sombe.
9. Then you can now cover your saucepan.
10. Until you think it is ready (you will notice that the smell has changed and even the colour has turned more dark).
11. Enjoy! Usikiye utamu ya muchuzi!

This piece is from the publication The Native People Know What I’m Talking About, written by twenty-one students in the eleventh grade at Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA).

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