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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mataba-Isombe- Saka saka-Cassava leaves

Here is one of my ultimate comfort food. The cassava leaves are called Mataba in Comoros, and Isombe in Burundi and Rwanda. In Congo, it is known as Pondu or Saka saka. It is the taste of my childhood.  They are healthy and high in protein. According to studies, consumption of 400g cassava leaves is equivalent to protein intake of 45 to 50 grams. In Comoros, it is often cooked with coconut milk, probably like Filipinos would cook it. However, I called my mother for her recipes. It takes a long time to cook this healthy green. It took me 3hours. So I did a big batch, and froze small portions.

24 oz of frozen chopped cassava leaves
4 large leeks sliced
2 chopped garlic
5 medium onions sliced
6 Tbsp of olive oil
4 Tbsp of peanut butter
Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper 

1.      Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add  Cassava leaves,  cook for 1h30
2.      Add remaining ingredients to the cassava leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
3.      Simmer until the water is mostly gone
4.      Then taste if the leaves are still hard add water and keep on going until greens are really tender.  This is where, I become impatient.  Most of the water should be evaporated, to get a creamy green sauce.

I like to eat this with a side of ultra garlicky pan fried eggplants, large shrimps and brown rice.The taste is a mix of spinach and collard green with  the familiar taste of cassava root. I love it!!!

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