Spinach Stew

Kontomire Stew

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Ghanaians abroad commonly say they are making “spinach” stew. Actually in Ghana the stew likely features beloved kontomire/cocoyam/taro leaves, easily available wild or cultivated. Kontomire’s flavor and texture differs from that of spinach—the leaves are thicker and hardier, more like kale or collard greens.


  • 1 pound fresh cocoyam/taro/kontomire leaves or spinach or other greens (collard, mustard, chard, etc.)
  • 6 to 8 ounces smoked fish
  • 1-inch cube salted cod (optional)
  • ¼ cup palm oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 or 2 onions, sliced or chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped or sliced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste—remember that the fish and cod will make the stew saltier)
  • dried ground red pepper to taste (¼ to ½ teaspoon to begin)



Prepare greens

  1. Wash the leaves. Remove the tough central stem of the cocoyam leaves (or mustard greens or chard) by holding the end of the leaf by the stem with one hand and with the other hand pull firmly downwards, using your thumb and index finger to release the stem (alternatively, just cut it out). Layer several leaves together, roll them up very tightly, and slice very thin. Set aside.

Prepare fish

  1. Remove any skin and bones from the smoked fish. (HINT: if using salted herring, simmer them separately in a little water before adding them to the stew to remove some of their saltiness.)
  2. If using salted cod, desalt it by soaking it in hot water for 10 minutes.

Make stew

  1. Heat the palm or vegetable oil and fry the onions for a few minutes,. Then add the tomatoes, salt, dried ground red pepper and fish and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the sliced greens along with ¼ cup water, mix well, cover and simmer on low heat until the greens are cooked and the flavors are mixed, about 20 minutes if using cocoyam leaves, less time if using spinach. Check frequently, adding more water as necessary to keep the stew from scorching.


Cook the whole leaves separately in boiling water and then drain and mash or puree them before adding to the stew. In this case, the stew will be ready about 10 minutes after adding them.