Nkontomire Stew AKA Palava Sauce

Nkontomire Stew AKA Palava Sauce is a traditional Ghanaian stew. It is prepared from cocoyam leaves. This stew is believed to have originated from the people of Elmina. It should be noted that Spinach can be used in place of Nkontomire leaves as an improvisation for those in the diaspora.


● Nkontomire leaves/ cocoyam leaves about 15

● 4 – 6 small tomatoes

● 3 medium onions

● Pepper as required

● 2 smoked fish of choice (salmon, tuna)

● 1 cup melon seeds AKA akatoa or agushie

● 1/2 cup Palm oil

● Momoni optional

● 2 teaspoons grounded shrimp

● Salt as required

Pre-Preparation of Ntontomire Stew

1. Soak melon seeds in water, set aside. Wash the Nkontomire leaves thoroughly with generous amount of salt to avoid itching of hands when cutting. Cut Nkontomire into desired stripes. Put Nkontomire in a saucepan with little water, cover the lid and bring to high heat. Turn the Nkontomire after 5 minutes of cooking to ensure all is cooked well. Off the fire and set aside.

2. Blend 2 onions, tomatoes and pepper together, set aside. Remove the flesh of your smoked fish, break fish into 2 and remove the bones. Break the fish into desired sizes, set aside.

Making of the Stew

1. Pour Palm oil in a medium saucepan, add half of the sliced onion and Momoni if using. Fry till onion is softened. Add the blended onion, tomatoes and pepper. Bring to simmer on medium heat. Add the smoked fish, salt and grounded shrimp if using. Cover and let it simmer 7-10 minutes till sauce thickens.

2. Add the blended melon seeds, DO NOT STIR, cover and bring to low heat. Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes for melon seeds sets. Stir gently now melon seeds in steamed Nkontomire. Add the other half of sliced onion and let it simmer for 5 minutes till onion is softened. Ntontomire Stew should be ready now to be served.

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