CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 16…The Democratic Republic of the Congo…where you can also find cheese made by an Italian…

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…I have Chel to thank for giving me some ideas from which this one took shape…Thank you Chel x

Today I am looking at the cuisine of the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

I thought about this post long and hard and nearly didn’t write it but choose another country one that wasn’t war-torn in places and dangerous …but doing my research I came across this video it is about an hour-long but it will give you a taste of the Congo heartbreaking in parts, and always danger lurks in some areas…BUT…it will give you an overview of the emerging cuisine made with local produce…indigenous dishes…young chefs emerging and young photographers but all with a passion …I never knew much about the Congo but this film touches on it all…a very worthwhile watch…

And yes there is even cheese, gnocchi and ciabatta made by an Italian from local produce…it is a testament to the chef how he has adapted Italian recipes using local goods rather than importing them from Italy…

I am now going to take a closer look at some of the foods used in the video… boiled fish with tomato, salt, and chilli and wrapped in banana leaves or other wild plants, which will permeate the fish with their aromas. Cooked on a grill often over an open fire is a beautiful way to cook fish as the smoke lends such a beautiful taste as it mingles with the spices and leaves…one of my favourite ways to cook fish…

Cassava and its leaves are widely used in cooking around the Congo…one such dish is Pondu one of the most popular dishes throughout the country…

The dish is made using prepared cassava leaves that are cooked in a pot, with or without spices. In the centre of the country, for example, pondu is simply cooked with water and a pinch of salt. In other parts of the country, oil—particularly palm oil—and spices are added, as well as onions, eggplants, scallions, etc… You can also add beef, fish, or beans to the dish.

Often served with “FuFu”…this dough-like food is popular around the Congo “FuFu” is found at every meal…either made from Cassava, plantain or corn it is staple in the Congolese diet…

Starchy foods…such as cassava, yams, or plantains are boiled, pounded, and rounded into balls which are then cooked over low heat until the dough solidifies … the pounding process, typically involves a mortar and pestle and can be laborious. Fufu is often dipped into sauces or eaten with stews of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Ndakala…are small dried fish that I know as anchovies they have the nickname 1000 poisons… They can be fried in oil with a bit of chilli and savoured with fufu or chikwange. Ndakala can also be mixed with vegetables of all kinds, and bathed in tomato sauce.

Why the nickname a 1000 poisons I couldn’t find out for sure…whether it’s because of the toxins some fish carry or it could be the increase in pesticides…Pesticide regulations are inadequate, and enforcement of existing legislation is poor…Carbofuran is the most widely abused pesticide in Africa where some species have been decimated by poisoning.

African countries like many Asian countries forage and use all a plant so many dishes are stir-fried leaves or made into a stew… the Congo is no different and dishes like Matembele(sweet potato leaves) and Fumbwa(wild spinach)…made into a stew…

The spinach stew is served with fufu, fish or semolina preferably. It has several names “MFUMBWA or KOKO” in the Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), “ERU or OKOK” in Cameroon, and “UKAZI” in Nigeria.

Like many countries insects also feature “Mbinzo” which are edible caterpillars…they are generally cooked with a light white sauce made of onions and a little oil with the red chilli pepper or sold as snacks…

Sweet potato is also one of the popular foods in the Congo. There are two varieties of sweet potato grown locally: the sweet potato (mbala ya sukali) and the unsweetened potato (mbala ya mungwa). It can be cooked in tomato sauce with pieces of beef or pork with onions, garlic, etc., or simply boiled in clear water.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of the Congo and I hope that one day the war there will be over and its lovely cuisine can come to the fore…I have noticed the absence of processed foods but that for me is a good thing as I love to see food made from locally grown ingredients and traditions in food passed down…the emergence of other cuisines can also be good especially if local ingredients are used…

Than k you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments xx

28 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 16…The Democratic Republic of the Congo…where you can also find cheese made by an Italian…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 29th May -4th June 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “Real food v Processed Food” and Saturday Snippets where “Star” is my one word prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  2. robbiesinspiration

    Hi Carol, I have a friend who is from the DRC. His family were all killed when he was a child and he somehow survived and was eventually brought here to SA. Thanks for sharing this post about Congolese cooking. I would not make these recipes myself, but I do find them very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thats so terrible that has happened to so many others the video highlighted that but also the spirit of the people which is why I shared it… Some of the recipes are not too our taste although I did like sound of the spinach soup and we do like food cooked wrapped in leaves its popular here.. Thank you for your valued comment Robbie ❤️


    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Unforunately yes it happens although apparently the numbers are now increasing because of conservation efforts and education …x


  3. D. Wallace Peach

    The resilience in the face of danger and war is heartening, but also so sad. Thanks for a sharing a bit of good news out of the Congo, Carol. Food is such a wonderful expression of life and joy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I hadn’t thought much about food in the Congo either..Yes, some ingredients are hard to get or just unavailable but much of the time there are good substitutes 🙂


  4. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 16…The Democratic Republic of the Congo…where you can also find cheese made by an Italian… – MobsterTiger

  5. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 16…The Democratic Republic of the Congo…where you can also find cheese made by an Italian… — Retired? No one told me! – yazım'yazgısı (typography)

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