Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recipe for Liberian Food-Cassava Leaf

Liberian’s love Cassava Leaf. While I was in Liberia one of my favorite foods was cassava leaf. Imagine my joy when I found a LaFruteria, a Mexican grocery on 89th and Commercial, in Chicago that sells, in addition to Mexican foods, Caribbean and African foods! I found cassava leaf, palm butter, palm oil and parboiled rice!

I am a vegetarian so when I prepare cassava leaf I don't use meat; however, in Liberia cassava leaf was prepared most often with smoked fish or lightly fried chicken. For my protein, I typically use either ground pea butter (peanut butter without sugar) or add pre cooked red beans. Note of Caution: Palm oil is heavy, saturated oil. With our sedentary lifestyles, enjoy the dish, but not too often unless you are really exercising.
2 -8 ounce packages of Ground Cassava Leaves
1-1 ½ cups of Red Palm Oil
2 green chopped Habanera pepper (if you get the red pepper use only 1)
Salt –to taste
Garlic-2-3 cloves chopped finely
Onion- ½ diced
Vegetarian bouillon cubes (if you are not a vegetarian, then chicken or beef bouillon cubes-favorite brand is Maggi - 1
Ground pea butter -4 tablespoons. [Stir in several tablespoons of hot water]
2 cups of Parboiled rice or any long grained rice-prepared according to package directions
Cover the frozen cassava leaves with 4 cups of water and cook over a medium fire (watch carefully) until all the water is boiled out of the cassava. Be careful not to scorch the cassava.
Add the palm oil and ground pea butter, onions, garlic, chopped peppers and cook until the mixture has the consistency of gravy. If needed add more oil and adjust your seasonings to taste.

Options for chicken and beef-Omit the ground pea butter -Lightly brown your meat and put it to the side. Then flake it into bite size pieces and add AFTER the palm oil and other seasonings is included. Cook for a few more minutes in order to let the seasonings filter through the meat.
Serve over nice firm rice
Make the meal healthier by serving with a large vegetable salad and plenty of cool water!