Okra-Palava-Sauce with Rice or Fufu

While away from home, Africans sometimes have to substitute okra-palava-sauce for the traditional palava sauce (pronounced P'lava Sauce)dish.

The green ingredients for this substitute are okra and spinach. These are relatively cheap and readily available in supermarkets. This sub doesn't taste quite the same as Palava Sauce, but it tastes just about as good.

The sauce is sort of slippery. It makes rice slide down your throat.

The slipperiness also makes eating fufu easier. That's important because you swallow fufu, you don't chew it. So, it works out great that the sauce makes the fufu slide easily right down your throat.


Please read tips at the bottom of this page before beginning.

You Will Need:

1 lb bag chopped frozen spinach
1 lb bag cut frozen okra
1 lb shrimp
2 crabs (cleaned)
3 total lbs chicken and beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 C smoked turkey (cut up)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps seasoned salt (Lawrys is great)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 to 1 C red palm oil

Optional ingredients:

1 large Orange (see Tips)
1 pod of hot pepper (see Tips)
2 bonnies (from Spanish or Oriental store)
1 piece dried fish – about the size of your fist

1 Maggi chicken soup

Prepare your soup.

Wash your meat, chicken, fish, and seafood. Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Cut stewing beef into 1 inch pieces and smoked turkey into 1/2 inch pieces. If using bonnies, peel and remove bones. Clean crab and break apart. Combine all in pan with shrimp.

Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp seasoned salt. Stir to spread seasoning evenly. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Put all your meat in a deep pot. Add one half of onion to pot. Add a small piece of Hot Pepper. (see Tips below). Add 2 cups of water and cook half-covered on medium high for 20 minutes.

Spoon all your meats from pot and put in a bowl. Set aside.

Make your okra-palava-sauce.

Add okra and spinach to the pot with the remaining water. Add 1 tsp of seasoned salt, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Add second half of chopped onion.

Half cover pot and cook on medium. Stir frequently, scraping bottom of pan with cook spoon. Cook until water is almost dried.

Add meats and palm oil. Bring to boil on medium. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Be careful not to let the sauce stick to the bottom of the pan. Taste your sauce. If you would like more salt, add a chicken soup. Or carefully add more salt.

Cook until dry. Your sauce is dry when you can no longer see water bubbling in the sauce about 30 to 45 minutes (see Tips below).

Enjoy your okra-palava-sauce with Rice or Fufu.


To reduce the food smell in your home, try peeling an orange. Place the rind in a small pot. Cover with water and boil the entire time you are cooking. Add more water as needed.

Since water and oil separates, look on the surface of your okra-palava sauce to check for the presence of water. All the water is gone when you can no longer see water separated from the oil.

Try a small piece of pepper first and taste your sauce before adding more. Remember you can always add more but you cannot take it away.

Be careful with bonnies. Bonnies are little dried fish with many, many bones. Try to get most of the bones out before cooking.

You can use all chicken or all beef instead of both.

Many Africans cook with Maggi chicken soup for added flavoring. I have added a minimal amount of salt to my recipe to allow you to add more or to use chicken soup if desired.

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