13 Feb Cassava Leaf Plasas
Cassava leaf is probably the most popular dish in Sierra Leone and one of my favourites (no surprises there 😊). This dish appears to be almost unique to Sierra Leoneans though I believe it is quite popular in surrounding countries like Guinea, Liberia and some parts of Cameroon.
If you live in the UK, you can now purchase cassava leaves from many shops that sell African and Caribbean foods. However, if you live in a less diverse area, try substituting cassava leaves for frozen spinach. I learned that tip from my parents who survived on it as young struggling students in Scotland in the seventies.
Cassava leaf is versatile. You can use any oil such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil or coconut oil to make it and the dish tastes fantastic each and every time. A word of warning – don’t forget to add the peanut butter or it will taste a little bitter. Enjoy, Sierra Leone’s favourite dish!!!
- 1 large onion
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- 600ml water
- 4 seasoning cubes or 2 stock cubes
- 1 bag (400g approx.) cassava leaves, grounded
- 1 cup palm oil.
- 2 heaped tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 can (400g) butter beans
- 400g dried or smoked fish* e.g. cod, haddock, salmon, pollock or snapper.
- 300g boiled beef or chicken (optional)
- Blitz the onion and scotch bonnet pepper in a food processor and transfer to a pot, along with the water and 2 seasoning cubes. Bring to the boil for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are well softened.
- Add the cassava leaves, and the remaining seasoning cubes. Cover the pot and continue to boil for a further 20 minutes.
- Add the palm oil, cover the pot and leave to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the oil floats to the top.
- Add peanut butter, butter beans and dried fish. Add beef or chicken if using.
- Stir, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 mins.
- Serve with rice.