Palaver Sauce is actually not a sauce at all but a stew. In Ghana it is made with a combination of meats, fish, and greens with tomato paste and is called Palaver Sauce or Kontonmire Stew. The name itself has interesting origins; "Palaver" (or Palava in Ghana) means a long-winded debate or quarrel. It seems that the first Palava Sauces were made with greens which had long ropey stems. As a large group of people stood around the stew the first to ladle out his portion would invariably slap his neighbour with one of the long stems, provoking a quarrel, and much talk and discussion would follow. The greens are now finely cut, but the name remains.


2 lbs. stew beef

2 quarts water

1 Tbs. salt

4 cups collard greens

2 cups spinach

1 lb. boned smoked fish

1 cup onions

½ cup vegetable or peanut oil

1 - 2 small hot peppers (or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper)


In a 1-gallon pot simmer 2 lbs. stew beef cut in ½-inch cubes (or use half beef and half chicken) in 2 quarts water and 1 Tbs. salt until meat is half cooked. Add 4 cups collard greens, chopped finely and 2 cups spinach, chopped finely. Simmer gently until meat and greens are cooked (about 15 minutes). Add 1 Ib. boned smoked fish. Cook for five minutes. All water should be absorbed. Add 1 cup onions, chopped finely and sautéed lightly in ½ cup vegetable or peanut oil with 1 or 2 small hot peppers (or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper). Correct the seasonings. Simmer five minutes longer. Serve with white rice.


Serves 8.


country : Liberia

course : meat dish


source : The African Cookbook / Bea Sandler