Definitions

palaver

Palaver sauce

Palaver sauce or Palava sauce is a type of stew widely eaten in West Africa, including Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The word palaver comes from the Portuguese language and means a talk, lengthy debate or quarrel. It is unclear how this led to the name of the stew. One theory is that when the stew was first made, with long, ropey greens, people would start quarrels by slapping each other with the greens from their stew. Another is that the spices used in the stew mingle together like raised voices in an argument. It has been thought of as having the power to calm tensions, or to cause them. Other names for the dish include Kontonmire, Kentumere, Nkontommire and pla'sas.

It has regional variations and can contain beef, fish, cassava, taro (cocoyam) leaves, and palm oil. It is served with boiled rice, potatoes, garri, fufu or yams. Outside of Africa, spinach is often used as a substitute for other greens.

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