How To Prepare Fresh Chikwanga- A Congolese Dish
Chikwanga recipe is a traditional Congolese dish prepared by pounding cassava, and wrapping it on banana leaves tied with cooking threads. The pounded cassava is then boiled in a pot. Once ready, the Chikwanga is left to cool and enjoyed with other main dishes or as a snack.
The essence of wrapping the cassava paste in banana leaves is to keep the Chikwanga fresh. One thing that makes this delicacy stand out is that it’s loaded with minerals, vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin for keeping the body well nourished. Due to its amazing health benefits, Chikwanga is not only enjoyed in Congo but also in Central African, other African nations and elsewhere around the world.
In this roundup, we will teach you how to prepare Chikwanga. But before then, let’s have a quick look at Congolese culture.
Congo is a culturally diverse country that has retained its cultural heritage. The culture experienced here is a blend of traditional customs and that of her colonizers. But these cultural practices have not affected tribal traditions, which is a clear indication of how Congolese values their culture. Nonetheless, France strongly influences the cuisine culture and foodie experience of the Congolese people.
Women do all the food preparation and serving process. Dining etiquette is key, and should be observed by everyone.
Food is served and enjoyed in large communal bowls. Eating is only allowed to be done with the right hand.
While formal greeting and handshakes are popular in most African countries, in Congo, things are different. When men meet, they rub their heads. This only applies to men of individual tribes.
Sharing drinks with ancestors is common on special occasions like weddings and circumcision. To do this, the Congolese elders will pour a local or home-made beer on the ground before enjoying it. Sharing drinks with ancestors is a sign of respect and it’s believed to send a message to the ancestors to keep watching over the family.
[bctt tweet=”In Congo, traditionally prepared beer is poured on the ground as a way of showing respect to the ancestors who in turn watch over the family”]
When a child loses their milk teeth, the mother throws the teeth on the roof. The belief is thought to accelerate the child’s teeth growth.
Now let’s switch our focus back to our Chikwanga recipe.
Fresh cassava roots
Cooking thread to tie
- Peel your cassava to reveal the white starch
- Cut the cassava into small pieces and soak them in water for four days until soft
- Filter the water and then blend the pieces into a smooth dough
- Roll and wrap the cassava dough into one or more banana leaves
- Put your wrapped cassava into boiling water and cook it for 4 hours
- Enjoy with peanut stew or soup of your choice
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