Pondu is a traditional Congolese recipe for a classic stew of cassava leaves (saka-saka) flavored with onion, red palm oil, chillies, garden eggs and tinned sardines or mackerel.


  • 2 bunches of fresh or 2 bags of frozen saka-saka (cassava) leaves
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • red palm oil, for frying
  • 2 tins of sardines or mackerel
  • hot chilli powder, to taste
  • fresh chillies, pounded to a paste (optional)
  • garden eggs (African aubergines) [optional]


  1. Heat 2 generous tablespoons of red palm oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and fry for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Wash and finely shred the cassava leaves then add to the pan.
  4. Drain the sardines and cut into small pieces then stir into the cassava leaf mix.
  5. Season to taste with salt and hot chilli powder.
  6. Cover and reduce to a low simmer then cook for 30 minutes.
  7. If adding garden eggs and hot chillies, halve the garden eggs and add to the stew along with about 1 tbsp fresh chilli powder.
  8. Stir to combine, re-cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes more, or until the cassava leaves are tender.
  9. Check and stir from time to time, and if the mixture looks dry add a little water.

Serve hot with rice or fufu.