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Congolese Casava Leaves Recipe: Pondu

Congolese Casava Leaves Recipe: Pondu

The popular Congolese cuisine Pondu, sometimes called Saka Saka or Mpondu, is cooked with cassava leaves. In the cuisine of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other Central African nations, it is a mainstay.

The dish's origins are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but its roots are deeply ingrained in Central African culinary customs. Due to their abundance in the area, the main component, cassava leaves, has been a mainstay in local cuisine for many years. The manner of preparation has changed over time, incorporating various ingredients like spices, meats, and palm oil to produce a pleasing fusion of flavors and textures.

Preparation Time

55 minutes



2 pounds fresh cassava leaves

1 cup palm oil

1 large onion (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1-2 hot peppers (chopped) 

Salt and pepper 

1-2 pounds meat (cut into bite-sized pieces)

1-2 smoked fish (optional), deboned and flaked

1-2 cups water or stock

1-2 cups ground peanuts or peanut butter (optional)


  • Wash the cassava leaves thoroughly and remove the tough stems.
  • Chop the leaves finely or use a food processor to make them into a paste.
  • In a large pot, cook the meat with a bit of salt until it's browned.
  • Add water or stock to the pot and simmer until the meat is tender.
  • In a separate pan, heat the palm oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the cassava leaves to the pan with onions and garlic. Stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If using ground peanuts or peanut butter, add it to the mixture. This adds a rich, nutty flavor.
  • Transfer the cooked meat and its broth to the pan with cassava leaves. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  • Let the mixture simmer over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally.
  • If using smoked fish, add it to the pot and continue simmering until the flavors meld.
  • Taste the Pondu and adjust the seasoning.
  • Pondu is traditionally served with a starchy side, such as rice, plantains, fufu, or cassava.