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When Life Hands You Weeds, Eat Them!

Pigweed is cooked and eaten in the CongoWe’ve enjoyed trying some of the local foods here in Congo and learning how to prepare them. One of our favorites is b’teku teku (pronounced something like beh teckoo teckoo). I first tried b’teku teku when a missionary friend prepared it for us. We liked it and asked her to teach us how to cook it. Imagine my surprise when she told us that b’teku teku grows in the U.S. and that I was probably already familiar with it. It is loathed by farmers and gardeners in the states. You might recognize it by its U.S. name: pigweed. Yep. We eat weeds. We feed our friends weeds too.

When it is cooked, b’teku teku looks a lot like spinach and has a similar but milder flavor. If you’d like to try a dish with a bit of Congolese flair to it, you can make this recipe using fresh spinach leaves. You’ll need the following:

Congo dish called b’teku teku One big bunch of b’teku teku. If using spinach, use several handfuls.
1 cube of bouillon (chicken or beef, whichever you prefer)
1 onion, chopped
Garlic to taste (I use 2–3 chopped cloves)
2–3 tbsp. oil
1 can of whole or diced tomatoes

Wash the greens well and cut them up. Boil them for five minutes, then remove from water. Sauté onion, garlic and bouillon in oil until onions are tender. Add the tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, mash them with your spoon in the pan. Add the greens and cook until heated through.

Next time you are pulling weeds from your garden or putting pesticide on your crops, say a prayer for all the “weed eaters” in Congo.


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