The Democratic Republic of the Congo consists of twenty six provinces of which Kinshasa is the capital. With a country so big and so many provinces, naturally there are a lot of tribes which over time, adopt their own culture. Here, people eat differently though we have the same foods. Sometimes local dishes are cooked differently.
For instance, in Lubumbashi, people eat a certain dish in a different way than in Kongo Centrale aka Bas-Congo or Kasai Occidentale. But here in Kinshasa, we have a mixture of everything combined together. People blend in with each other and thus everything becomes edible. Everyone brings what they have and eat it here. Growing up outside my country, I haven’t really known all that about the DRC. I’ve eaten the most popular food which is Pundu, fufu and makayabu. It’s only when I came here and actually lived that I have discovered all these exotic food that my country has. I realized that there are so much more than what I’ve known all my life. Choices are unlimited for everyone.
If you happen to be in Kinshasa on your next trip, don’t forget to try the local food. There are so many to choose from, and something for everyone, whether you’re a vegetarian, pescetarian, or a carnivore. As you discover the different types of food here in DR Congo, you’ll find many weird stuffs some of which are definitely worth a try. When you hear Kinshasa, then pundu automatically comes to mind. It’s the first congolese dish I ate as a child and grew up loving it. Back then, my mother used to cook it the most common way, I was unaware that there were different ways to cook it. When I came here in Kinshasa and indulged myself more in the local food, I had discovered the many different ways of eating it.
The normal way to cook it is by adding either palm or vegetable oil, along with eggplant, zucchini, onion and garlic. Some people, including myself like it the healthy way using olive oil and less salt. For instance, the Bayombe people cook it with peanut powder to add a different twist to it, and many people like to add dried fish (also known as Mbisi ya kaouka) whereas Mbisi means fish and kaouka means dried, for extra flavors. Pundu can be accompanied by either fufu, kwanga or rice.
Discovering new things, as you have realized by now, is one of my specialities. It gives me pleasure to let other people know about my country and all the little local delicacies. I’ll make sure to share more of the local food my country offers and while you can, make sure to try them out.
Below, is a recipe of pundu cooked the most common and simple way. Bon Appetit!
• Cassava leaves or Saka Saka
• Palm oil
• Green bell pepper
• Maggi cube (pundu or shrimp flavor)
• Start by washing the cassava leaves very well, to remove all the dirt
• Put it in hot water for a good five minutes
• Mash all the vegetables together
• In a hot saucepan, add a glass of water, pundu, palm oil, salt and maggie. Cover it and let it come to boil for an hour on medium heat then you remove it and serve it with the desired side dish of your choice.