A Tasty Congolese Relish with Manioc Leaves – Isombe y’umwamba

DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture

Cooking palm nuts to soften the nuts for oil e...

The following recipe – ‘Manioc leaves with crushed palm oil kernels‘ – is popular throughout central Africa and combines three of the most important local ingredients – manioc leaves, fresh oil from palm nuts, and ground nuts.

Here are the ingredients – quantities are pretty much up to you:

Fresh manioc leaves –
Oil palm nuts –
Fresh peanuts –
Garlic –
Palm oil
Red pepper –
Salt –

Preparation requires a bit of work. First, you must collect a basket of tender manioc leaves:

Then, you need to pound the manioc leaves into a paste, like this:

In the meantime, send your menfolk off to collect a bunchor two of fresh palm nuts:

You prepare the oil palm nuts by removing the flesh from the kernels and pounding it – then, you squeeze the crushed fibers between your hands, using the liquid, but…

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Rural Markets in the Congo, 1871

DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture

In many parts of Africa, rural markets are the most important method for buying and selling agricultural goods. The following description of a large rural market near the Lualaba River in N.E. Congo by David Livingstone could be a description of many rural markets today. With a few exceptions, the items being sold are the same.

1st April, 1871._–The banks are well peopled, but one must see the gathering at the market, of about 3000, chiefly women, to judge of their numbers. They hold market one day, and then omit attendance here for three days, going to other markets at other points in the intervals. It is a great institution in Manyuema: numbers seem to inspire confidence, and they enforce justice for each other. As a rule, all prefer to buy and sell in the market, to doing business anywhere else; if one says, “Come, sell me that fowl or…

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Cuisine and Crops in the Congo Delta, 1863

DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture

The crops and cuisine of groups living in the delta area of the Congo river in the mid 19th Century is interesting in that there apparently was little processing of crops, other than cassava.  Of course, Sir Richard Burton‘s data comes only from the season he was there, and he gives  no information on processing fresh crops for post-harvest use.

 Meat rarely appears; river fish, fresh or sun-dried, is the  usual “kitchen,” eaten with manioc, toasted maize, and  peeled, roasted, and scraped plantain: vegetables and  palm-oil obtained by squeezing the nut in the hands, are the  staple dish, and beans are looked upon rather as slaves’  food. They have no rice and no form of ‘daily bread’…

 …The greens, cabbages, spinach, and French beans,  mentioned by Tuckey*, have been allowed to die out. Tea,  coffee, sugar, and all such exotics, are unappreciated, if not  unknown; chillies, which…

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