Palava Sauce

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Palava Sauce

A delicacy of many natives of West Africa, this dish cannot be originally linked to any West African country. The word “Palava” is coined from the English word Palaver which is derived from the Portuguese word “Palavra”, meaning idle chatter. Whether this meal earned its named from being prepared or enjoyed over idle chatter is still a mystery, however the taste is fabulously exotic.


  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) palm oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped / chunkily chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and mashed
  • Salt and pepper to taste (2 red/green chillies, ground)
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) diced cooked meat or 250 g (1/2 lb) fish ( e.g. snapper, tuna or salmon)
  • 3 bunches of spinach (sliver beet) or 750 g (1-1/2 lb) frozen spinach (silver beet), washed and chopped
  • 100 g (3-1/2 oz) egushi (ground shelled pumpkin seeds or pepitas)


Method of Preparation

1. Pour palm oil in a saucepan add onions when oil is fairly hot. Fry the onions until golden.
2. Add the tomatoes, pepper to taste.
3. Add salt to taste with your choice of diced, cooked meat & fish. Simmer on a low heat, stirring regularly to prevent burning.
4. Add the spinach (silver beet) to the meat mixture. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the spinach is soft & cooked. Stir regularly, taking care not to break too
much of the fish.
5. Add the egushi (pumpkin seeds) and stir them into the sauce. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes on low heat.
Serve hot with boiled rice, yams, plantains.

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