Kwanga (Cassava Baton)by Abigail Kintala (@abikinta)
Kwanga, also known as Chikwangue and Bobolo, is a unique African dish made from fermented cassava dough. Wrapped in cling film, foil and banana leaves and steamed, it has a dense, slightly tangy texture, resembling bread but with added flair.
It is commonly served with savoury sauces, stews, or grilled meats. Kwanga offers a taste of African culinary diversity and is a must-try dish, whether it is called Kwanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bobolo in Cameroon, or Manioc/Yuca in other regions.
- Tightly woven cloth (cheesecloth or muslin)
- Cling film
- Aluminium foil
- Large pot for steaming
- Rubber band (optional)
- Large sieve or drainer
Peel the skin off 2 cassavas and chop them into small pieces.
Place the small cassava pieces into a bowl of water, cover with cling film, and let sit for a week for fermentation. The cassava will become soft during this time
After a week, remove the cassava from the water. The cassava should be soft.
Take out all the small strings, including the yellow strings, from within the cassava roots.
Open up each cassava piece and remove any strings deep inside.
Place the prepared cassava pieces into a blender.
Add 1/4 cup of water initially and start blending.
Gradually add an additional 1/2 cup of water while blending to ensure a smooth and soft mixture, without any lumps or strings.
Place a large sieve or drainer over a clean bowl.
Place a tightly woven cloth on top of the sieve.
Pour the blended cassava mixture onto the cloth and close it to form a bag shape.
Secure the cloth with a rubber band and let the cassava mixture drain for 10 hours. This will allow excess water to drain out.
After 10 hours, the cassava mixture should be relatively dry.
Spread the dry cassava mixture onto a tray.
Take half of the cassava mixture and place it on a section of cling film. Wrap it completely.
Steam the wrapped cassava on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure to use a pot with a lid to allow proper steaming.
The cassava does not need to be fully cooked, just partly cooked.
Kneading and Mixing:
Unwrap the steamed cassava and place it back on the tray.
Knead both the steamed cassava dough and the raw cassava dough together, ensuring they are well mixed. Add water while kneading to achieve desired consistency. The softer the dough, the better.
Shape the combined cassava dough into a slightly capsule-like shape.
Cut a section of cling film, ensuring it's slightly longer than the dough.
Place the dough at least 5 cm under the top edge of the cling film.
Use your fingers to take both sides of the top edge of the cling film and roll it over the dough.
Use your palm to shape it into a capsule shape.
Close up the sides of the cling film by twisting and pressing them down.
Place the wrapped dough onto a piece of aluminum foil and repeat the wrapping process, ensuring it's fully covered in foil.
Place the wrapped cassava into a large pot of water and cover it with a lid.
Steam the wrapped cassava on medium-low heat for 45 minutes, allowing it to fully cook through.
After 45 minutes of steaming, the kwanga should be fully cooked.
Slice the kwanga into medium-sized pieces and serve with various Congolese stews, meats, or sauces.
Enjoy your homemade kwanga, a traditional Congolese delicacy!
Tips & Tricks
Kneading raw cassava dough with cooked cassava dough ensures that the cassava is cooked thoroughly when finally steamed. This also speeds up the steaming process.
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