Cassava is native to the Americas, but the tuber’s leaves are consumed almost exclusively in central Africa, where the plant is a drought-resistant staple of regional cuisines.
The cassava root is sometimes used to make shima, a fufu-like accompaniment that typically figures into Zambian and Congolese meals, but Rose Mufuta uses the more common corn in her version. Tortillas also work alongside the greens, which go by the name of sombe or saka-saka.
Mufuta shops at the African Market at 6585 Dorchester Road for cassava leaves and smoked fish. The former is usually available fresh, but there are almost always leaves in the freezer case.
Salt is optional here, since the smoky flavors of the fish and oil pervade the simple dish: It’s designed to be filling and satisfying without the addition of costly herbs.
— Hanna Raskin