Postcard From Freetown – “The Cassava Leaf Soup & Rice Tale”

So the chatting continued with my sisters as we talked about childhood stories over dinner, reminiscing memories of all our childish antics that we used to embark on back then. Laughter galore was all over the place, I even spilled some drink on myself because I just could not resist laughing to stupor. As we were chatting and laughing, out of the blue came an unexpected flashback of how we used to eat roast cassava and cassava leaf soup like maniacs when we were young and apparently we were going to have cassava leaf soup and rice for dinner that evening. I guess the aroma and sweetness of the food had managed to bring back that memory of the past.

I remember those days when we were still at 1 State Avenue on the West End of Freetown, one of our neighbor aunty Salamatu used to cook one of the best ever cassava leaf stew that my sister and I have ever had. We used to chase each other from school just to be home on time to eat aunty Salay’s cassava stew and rice, I’ll never forget such a blissful memory ever.

In retrospect, I thought I should share the reason for my craziness about cassava leaf soup and rice. It had been ten years since I last had the pleasure of eating cassava leaf soup and rice because back in Johannesburg there’s nothing like that and I remember seeing cassava in Eastern Cape at Mdantsane and that was the end of it as no one could help me as to how I can get the leaves for me to prepare it.

I did ask a couple of friends and the consensus answer was for me to go to Swaziland, it is readily available there. Oh well, my urge for it just simmered down, because even in Yoeville market I could not find all the ingredients for me to be able to cook it.

Coming home to Sierra Leone and the first meal that was served to me was cassava leaf soup and rice was like heaven on earth, gigantic fish and some fried meat. I could not have asked for more. I so savored the moment that I thought I should unveil the process and ingredients needed for you cook it if you can wherever you are.

Ingredients Needed: Grind Cassava Leaf

Grind Groundnut – Peanut Butter can be used.

Palm Oil/Groundnut Oil



Maggie Cubes

Fish/Beef/Chicken – I recommend you have a bit of everything – variety is bliss.

Okra – which is optional but it does add some extra flavor to it.

Method: First put the cassava leaf in a pot and place on the stove to boil for 10 minute.

Add groundnuts and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Add pepper and onions and maggi or any spice you love and allow to boil for 5 minutes.

Add palm oil/groundnut oil but personally palm oil (palm kernel) is much preferable and allow to boil for another 10 minutes.

Then add your fish/meat/chicken and let it cook for another 10 minute and you good to go.

I am hoping that you’ll try this African dish and I am certainly sure you will thank me later. More postcards to come as I journey on in my country of birth, exploring and bringing back stories that are almost forgotten.




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