Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a diverse culinary heritage with a variety of traditional dishes. One popular Congolese recipe is Pondu, a delicious dish made with cassava leaves and usually served with a starch such as fufu or rice. Here’s a concise recipe for Pondu:
- 500 grams cassava leaves (fresh or frozen)
- 500 grams beef or smoked fish (cut into chunks)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tomatoes (diced)
- 2 tablespoons red palm oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (optional, for heat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using fresh cassava leaves, wash them thoroughly and remove any tough stems. If using frozen leaves, thaw them according to package instructions.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add the cassava leaves. Cook for about 30 minutes to soften the leaves. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat the red palm oil or vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic, and sauté until the onions become translucent.
- Add the beef or smoked fish to the pot and cook until browned on all sides.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they soften.
- Add the cooked cassava leaves to the pot and mix well with the other ingredients. Reduce the heat to low.
- Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and dried red chili flakes (if using). Stir to combine the flavors.
- Cover the pot and let the Pondu simmer on low heat for about 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The flavors will develop and the ingredients will meld together.
- Taste the Pondu and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve the Pondu hot with fufu (a starchy dish made from cassava or plantains) or rice.
Note: Pondu can be customized by adding other vegetables such as eggplant or okra, according to personal preference. The choice of meat can also vary, and some versions of Pondu include peanut butter for a rich and creamy flavor.