Palaver sauce has an interesting story behind how this dish is named as such. Learning from the South of Sahara cookbook, the word Palaver comes from the Portuguese word of “palavra”, which means a word, or speech. The negotiation between the Africans and Europeans during colonial times was called a palaver. The word palaver means any type of lengthy discussion.
It is believe that this palaver sauce was prepared during a long village palaver so everyone can enjoy a good meal after a long discussion. Everyone will gather around big pot and adding in their own ingredients in there. Palaver sauce often involved varieties of meat and even fishes, vegetables and whatever that anyone wants to add to the pot.
I noticed that many West African dishes call for okra in the recipe. I’ve learned that the “sliminess” of the okra is especially popular in West African dishes. They love it. This palaver sauce uses chicken, beef, fish, okra, onions, tomatoes, kale and mushrooms. Lots of goodies in there for sure. When they say “the more the merrier”, I think it is true for palaver sauce.
- ½ cup peanut or palm oil
- ½ lb (250 g) beef, cut in chunks
- 3 lb ( 1 1/2 kg) chicken, cut in pieces, skin removed if desired
- 1 onion , thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes , chopped
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ground red pepper , or to taste
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp ground crayfish
- 5 oz (150 g) okra, stemmed and sliced crosswise
- ½ lb (250 g) mixed greens such as kale or spinach, stemmed or chopped (4 to 5 cups)
- ¼ lb (125 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced
- ½ lb (250 g) lean or fat fish fillet, raw or previously steamed or baked
- Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook beef and chicken over medium-high heat until brown on both sides. Do this in batches so the meat brown properly. Remove from the pot and set aside
- Add onion, tomatoes, curry powder, red pepper, salt and dried crayfish to pot. Simmer 20 minutes on medium to low heat
- Add 3 cup (725 ml) water to pot and bring to a boil. Add okra, green, and mushrooms. Simmer, uncovered, on medium-high heat for 10 minutes
- Return meat and chicken to pot, lower heat to medium and simmer, uncovered until they are cooked through
- Cut fish into about 8 large chunk, and add to the pot. Simmer another 5 minutes, uncovered, until the fish is cooked through