In Cape Verde, this soup is thickened by the addition of both “mandioca” - a flour made from manioc, and “farinha de pau” - crushed, dried bread crumbs. Manioc flour is not as unfamiliar as it might sound. It’s the same thing as tapioca flour, made from the starchy tuber known variously as manioc or cassava. If you can’t find tapioca flour, you can substitute quick-cooking, or “minute” tapioca.


1 tsp. salt

2 - 3 green (unripe) bananas, sliced in rounds

1 yellow onion, sliced

4 tblsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 chili pepper or ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup dry bread crumbs

½ of a small cabbage, chopped

4 - 6 large potatoes, chopped in chunks

4 - 6 sweet potatoes, chopped in chunks

2 lbs. fish, without bones


In a mixing bowl, dissolve salt in enough water to cover the banana pieces. Dump them in, and soak for 10 - 15 minutes to draw out the “pucker” quality of unripe fruit.

Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or heavy stew pot, brown onion in oil over moderate heat. Add garlic, bay leaf, pepper, parsley and tomato, and sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 4 cups hot water.

In a separate bowl, use a bit of the hot broth to whisk the tapioca flour into a thin, smooth paste. Bring soup almost to a boil and add the paste and bread crumbs, stirring vigorously. Immediately reduce heat to simmer.

Drain the bananas and add them, along with the cabbage and potatoes. Gently lay in the fish, cover with water, and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, or until everything is done.


Serves 6 - 8.


country : Cape Verde

course : fish dish


source : The Africa News Cookbook : African cooking for Western kitchens / Tami Hultman


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