Kwacoco Bible – made from grated coco yam and mixed with spinach, smoked fish, red oil and other spices. It is wrapped in plantain leaves, steamed until cooked through. Very filling, flavorful and aromatic side dish!
Cocoyam is cooked in all forms- fried, boiled, roasted and mashed in most parts of Africa. Mostly cooked as a side dish or one -pot meal. It is a starchy root vegetable that is enjoyed in most tropical countries and goes under various names -malanga is one of the common names, here, in the U.S.
This starchy root with a hairy, kind of rough skin sometimes has a white or slightly pink interior. The pink ones are starchier and are really dry when cooked. The flavor is actually quite strong, earthy, deep, and sometimes leaves a slight itch in the back of your throat.
Here, it is grated mixed with spinach, smoked fish, red oil and other spices. It then wrapped in plantain leaves, steamed until cooked through. Somewhat like this black-eyed fritters –moin moin, but with cocoyam – Well known in Cameroon as kwacoco bible. A major staple enjoyed by the Bakweri tribe in the South West province.
Why is the name linked to a bible? I don’t know …your guess is as good as mine.
I used a food processor to grate the cocoyam, it makes things easier – you may use a grater. If you are a perfectionist and want the best texture use a grater.
If you have the spice country onions then by all means use it , It adds flavor a nutty flavor to the this dish.
Increase the water or oil to make the cocoyam mixture moist enough, depending on the type of cocoyam used . Don’t go crazy with the water or oil 1/4 cup is good enough.
By the way, use foil paper, parchment paper if you do not have plantain leaves or place in plantain leaves first and then completely wrap in foil paper, if you are not using a steamer.
- 3 pounds cocoyam peeled and cleaned
- 4 -5 cups fresh spinach chopped
- 1 cup red oil or more adjust according to preference
- ½ cup crayfish
- 1- 1 1/2 cup smoked fish
- 1– 1 ½ cup smoked turkey cut in bite size pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt adjust to taste
- 1 scotch bonnet pierced
- 1 teaspoon bouillon powder or maggie
- ½ teaspoon country onion spice optional
- Add about Lightly boil smoked turkey, smoked fish, crayfish with pepper and Maggie in a medium pot for about 3-5 minutes. Reserve the stock for later use. If you want more heat press the pepper for a long time. Remove scotch bonnet pepper set aside.
- Peel the coco yams with a sharp knife, peeling away from your body carefully draw the paring knife down the body of the yam, being careful not to remove too much of the yam in during the process.
- Look for any spoiled spots, such as bruising and discoloration, in the cocoyam as you peel. Remove the spots away with the tip of the knife.
- Cut into large chunks and wash immediately to prevent discoloration and leave them in cool water until ready to use.
- Grate cocoyam using a grater or Pulse the cocoyam in a food processor with water until puree( try not to make it too fine).
- In a large bowl add mixture of fish, spinach, red oil , crayfish, smoked turkey, stock, salt and country onion to the grated cocoyam.
- Cut the banana leaves into rectangles, remove any ugly edges, submerge them in water to clean and drain pat- dry. Use aluminum paper if banana leaves are not available.
- The leaves must be heated and wilted over an open high flame to make them flexible.
- Place the mixture of kwacoco on the leaf about ½-1 cup.
- Then quickly fold banana leaves over it, and press sides into a rectangle shape making sure to press inwards so none of the kwacoco runs out.
- Then fold the sides in to seal twice. Repeat the process and set them.
- IF possible form a steamer by placing a small cookie rack in a large pot. Line with banana leaves, bring to a boil , then start placing bundles in the pot and steam for about an hour, adding water as necessary.