How to Cook Katapa: Zambian Food

Katapa or cassava leaves are a staple in many African cuisines. In Zambia, they are a popular vegetable that can be enjoyed with nshima. These nutrient-dense leaves are versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. In this recipe, we’ll show how to cook Katapa cassava leaves using cooking oil. This dish can be enjoyed with nshima and any other protein dish.

Preparing the Katapa Cassava Leaves

You need to first prepare the fresh katapa cassava leaves by pounding or grinding them.

To do this, the leaves are thoroughly washed and then pounded or ground in a mortar and pestle called “Kabende and Kamunsi” until they are fine but not too fine.

Alternatively, a blender can be used to blend the leaves but you need to make sure that they do not become too fine..

The traditional method of pounding or grinding the leaves is labor-intensive, but it ensures that the leaves are properly broken down and release their full flavor and nutrients.

The use of a blender can be quicker and more efficient for those who have access to one but they also need to learn the skill of preparing katapa cassava leaves before cooking using a blender.

How to Cook Katapa with Cooking Oil

 Here’s how you can make this delicious dish:


  • 2 cups of  pounded katapa
  • 3-4 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Water


  1. Put the katapa cassava leaves into a pot with water just above the Katapa and start boiling.
  2. Boil for 2-3 hours or until tender, making sure to add more water once it dries up.
  3. When the leaves are tender and fully cooked, add tomatoes, onions, cooking oil and salt.
  4. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked
  5. Serve nshima and a protein dish such as dry fish stew.
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