Beninese cuisine, Sauces & Soups, Togolese cuisine

Jute leaves (Adémé Soup)

Adémé (Adémédéssi ou Adémé déssi)

My grandmother’s Adémé is my favorite soup. I remember my grandmother harvesting the Adémé the day before and letting it see overnight. The next day, we had to remove the dark end of the stem and remove the leave from the big stems. Next my grandmother washes the leaves with a drop of bleach to make sure they are no earthworm on the leaves. She will cook down the Adémé leaves with a lot of love, in a very simple way with doevi and serve it with Ewokoume.

The Adémé is also called Jute leaves or Lalo cultivated in the Caribbea, in Africa and in the USA during the summer time. The leaves of Adémé are sold in the farms during the summer time. I did not get a chance to go to the farm this year; therefore I had to use the industrial precooked Adémé. To tell the truth, I real don’t mind.

The Adémé is not just the delicious but very rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C , Vitamin E. Furthermore the Adémé contains a high percentage of calcium, which contributes to strong teeth and bones. The Adémé is rich in fiber; therefore regularly intake of the leaves help to control blood pressure, cholesterol build-up, diabetes, and also prevents heart disease.

This Adémé déssi recipe is a West African (Togo, Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast) recipe. The Adémé leaves are cooked in very little water and a generous amount of baking soda. The baking soda help keep the green color of the Adémé leaves and soften the leaves during the cooking process. Before, starting the cooking process, make sure to have all the ingredients ready because cooking the Adémé leaves too long can resolved in a dry, dark green and not slimy soup. Equally important, you should not cover the soup unless you want to cut the sliminess of the soup.

I have a tendency to overload my Adémé dessi with meat, fish and seafood. Some people do not use palm oil, but I cannot do without. In addition to the meat, vegetables like African eggplant and bell pepper can be added.

The Adémé is served with Akoume (like ewokoume. Makoume), Akpan, gari, or Ablo.

600 g of ademé leaves (fresh or frozen)

1 tablespoon of ginger

2 cloves garlic,

3 cooked crabs,

12 cooked shrimps,

1 smoked mackerel,

1 onion,

20 cl of palm oil

1 cube

Red and green pepper

Salt

Pepper

2 tbsp Potash or sodium bicarbonate

1 fish “lahoin” (dried and fermented fish)

The meat of your choice (seasoned, boiled, and fried)

Sort the leaves by removing the yellow or faded leaves, wash and drain in a colander and chop coarsely.

Put a little water in the bottom of a pot, and add the potash and as soon as the water begins to boil the leaves of ademe.

Add the fish “lahoin” and 1/2 onion

With the help of a spoon, break the leaves of Ademe.

Boil until the sauce is slimy (about 10 minutes).

Add chili, garlic, ginger, crab, shrimp, cube, meat and smoked fish

Add palm oil and salt and cook for another 10 minutes.

Potash or baking soda allows green vegetables to keep their color during cooking and soften

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