West African favourite dish: Palava sauce (spinach, prawns and fish stew)

Recently I’ve been experimenting with the World cuisine especially dishes from West Africa. Everybody is always talking about jollow rice  – popular dish in many parts of West Africa. It is so popular that everybody is fighting as to where this dish originated from. Some say it is Nigerian, some Ghanian and some Sierra Leonean. I think this is very similar with the Palava sauce.

There are many different ways to cool Palava. This is made with groundnuts, instead of egusi, in a Sierra Leone style. It is extremely delicious and very popular dish in my household.


  • 2tbls palm oil ( you can use vegetable oil as well)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (200gr)
  • 2 tbls peanut butter
  • 600ml water
  • 1/2 dried thyme or sprig of fresh thyme
  • chilli pepper/salt to taste
  • 450gr spinach
  • 200gr smoked fish
  • 300 – 400gr prawns


1. Put the palm oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. When hot add the onions and tomatoes. Cook on high heat for 5 min, stirring.

Palm Oli

Palm Oil

Mix onions and tomatoes

Mix onions and tomatoes

2. Reduce the heat to moderate and add peanut butter, creaming well into sauce with half of the water. Stir well and allow to cool, bubbling gently for 10 min.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter

3. Add the rest of the water, thyme, pepper and salt. Wash and finely chop the fresh spinach, stir into the sauce and allow to cool on moderate heat until the sauce is tick (about 20 min).

Finely chopped spinach

Finely chopped spinach

2014-06-08 13.12.21

4. Add smoked fish and prawns and cook for 10 minutes longer.

Smoked fish and prawns

Smoked fish and prawns

5. Serve with boiled rice

Palava sauce

Palava sauce


Enjoy MissJ x


2 thoughts on “West African favourite dish: Palava sauce (spinach, prawns and fish stew)

  1. Pingback: Prawns in Maldivian style | The Culinary Journey

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