FERMENTED GREEN LEAVES
Kawal is a strong smelling Sudanese, protein-rich food prepared by fermenting the leaves of a
wild African legume, Cassia obtusifolia and is usually cooked in stews and soups. It is used as a
meat replacer or a meat extender. Its protein is of high quality, rich in sulphur amino acids
which are usually obtained from either fish or meat.
Raw material preparation
The Sickle Pod plant (Cassia obtusifolia) is a wild legume that grows in Sudan. The leaves
should be collected late in the rainy season when the plant is fully grown. All the stems, pods
and flowers should be removed. If they are not removed, the final product is bitter. The leaves
should not be washed. It is thought that natural micro-organisms on the leaves are important for
the correct fermentation.
Process and principles of preservation
The leaves of the leguminous plant are pounded into paste without releasing the juice. The
paste is placed in an earthenware jar and covered with sorghum leaves. The whole jar is sealed
with mud and buried in the ground up to the neck in a cool place. Every three days the contents
are mixed by hand.
The fermentation takes about fourteen days. The fermentation is extremely complex. The main
micro-organisms are Bacillus subtilis and Propionibacterium spp.
After about fourteen days, the strongly smelling black fermented paste is made into small balls
and sun-dried for five days.
Place in jar
Roll into balls
remove stems and flowers
pound the leaves into a paste in a mortar and pestle
with sorghum leaves
up to the neck
every three days
for three to five days
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