“When you cook sombe, we have to make sure we also have sides so that we have all the essenital nutrients.... If you have sombe you’re either going to have fish or you’re going to have meat on the side. Because in here we have iron and in here--in the meat we have protein.”


  • Frozen cassava leaves
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Eggplant
  • Green pepper
  • 2 cups palm oil or canola oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Spinach (optional)


1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cassava leaves. “Because we buy this from the store, we don’t know how they process it. So we boil the water as we are doing right now. You open the package and you put the sombe inside and it boils and it takes the bad smell.”

2.  “While it’s boiling, you also wash all of these veggies.” Wash and chop the celery leek, green pepper and eggplant. “If [the eggplant] is fresh, you cut it with the skin. If it is not fresh, you remove the skin.”

3.  Add the chopped veggies, oil, and salt to the pot with the sombe. “Some people use garlic.... Because these veggies have to make the sombe soft, you can also add spinach if you want....The spinach helps to make it much more softer.”

4.  “This whole process takes two hours for the sombe to be fully cooked.” Stir occasionally while it’s cooking. “As the water goes down, it is an indication that it’s being cooked.”

5.  “After the sombe or cassava leaves is fully cooked, you can add powdered peanut, or fish, or bones. It’s your choice... but you don’t mix up everything together.”

6.  Serve with ugali and fish or meat. “You can eat it with ugali or fufu. You can eat it with plantain or rice or anything else.”

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