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hearty Cape Verdean Dish: Cachupa

hearty Cape Verdean Dish: Cachupa

The beloved Cape Verdean dish cachupa is a hearty and flavourful creation that perfectly embodies the harmonious fusion of Portuguese and African elements. Hominy corn and beans form the basis of this dish, which is then boosted by a tempting variety of vegetables and meats or fish. While there are many different regional versions, the cachupa rica variety is recognized for its lavish and complex flavours.

The archipelago of Cape Verde, which is situated off the western coast of Africa, holds the origin of this dish. This culinary masterpiece captures the rich diversity of the islands, which has been imprinted by centuries of Portuguese colonisation, African ancestry, and the crisscrossing trade routes connecting Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

The dish's creation can be attributed to the Portuguese colonisation of Cape Verde in the 15th century, which brought corn and beans to the island nation. Due to its hardiness in the arid climate of the islands, corn, or maize, proved beneficial and quickly established itself as a staple food. Beans were introduced at the same time and quickly became an essential source of protein.

Cachupa changed as Cape Verde's population expanded and became more diverse, adjusting to regional flavours and ingredients. African background supplied ingredients like yams, sweet potatoes, and hot spices, while Portuguese influence brought the use of sausages, chorizo, and other meats.

Preparation Time

2 hours and 30 minutes




For the Cachupa Base:

2 cups of hominy corn 

1 cup of dried red kidney beans

Water for soaking and cooking

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 onion (chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 bay leaf

2 cups of diced butternut squash or pumpkin

2 cups of diced sweet potatoes

2 cups of diced yams or white potatoes

Salt and pepper 

For the Meat:

1 lb of smoked sausage or chorizo (sliced)

1 lb of pork ribs or pork belly (cut into small pieces)

1 lb of chicken thighs or drumsticks (cut into pieces)

1 lb of salted codfish (bacalhau), soaked and shredded 

For the Seasoning:

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1 green bell pepper (diced)

1 tomato (diced)

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Hot pepper sauce (such as piri-piri or tabasco) 


  • Start by soaking the hominy corn and dried red kidney beans separately in water overnight or for at least 8 hours, drain and rinse.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the sausage or chorizo and any pork or chicken pieces you're using. Cook until they are browned.
  • Add the soaked and drained hominy corn and dried red kidney beans to the pot. Stir well to combine with the other ingredients.
  • Add enough water to cover all the ingredients by about an inch. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the butternut squash or pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and yams or white potatoes to the pot. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the salted codfish to the pot now and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, heat some vegetable oil and sauté the red and green bell peppers, and tomato until they are softened. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, and cloves, and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add the sautéed seasoning mixture to the main pot and stir well.
  • Season the cachupa with salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Serve!