Isom…blah Soup: Rwandan Vegetable Soup and Corn-Rice Bread

You know how kale, spinach, eggplant and green peppers don’t taste like a whole lot of anything on their own? Well, add them all to some water with only a bit of peanut butter and they still taste like nothing. That brings me to today’s soup: Isombe, a Rwandan vegetable stew.

I didn’t have high expectations for this soup given the ingredients, but since I’ve been wrong about 95% of everything I’ve made so far in Africa, I was really ready to give Rwanda the benefit of the doubt despite the lackluster ingredients. I mean, it has peanut butter, right? That’s redeeming, right? Wrong.

This is traditionally made with cassava leaves, but any dark leafy green would do. It’s not really that this is bad, but merely flavorless. But, as Tomato said, there’s nothing that a little bit of salt and hot sauce can’t fix.


4 cups kale

4 cups spinach

4 spring onions, sliced

1 eggplant, cubed

1 green bell peppers, cubed

2 TB palm oil

3 TB creamy peanut butter

7 cups water


1.  Add the kale to the water, salt it, and boil until soft.

2.  Add the rest of the veggies and cook about 20 minutes until soft.

3.  Mix the oil and the peanut butter and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.




As a dipper, I crossed regions to Angola for a corn and rice bread.  The recipe I used came from this very helpful site.  It was pretty good, and I think next time I’ll add in whole corn kernels.



1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup cooked rice (I used brown)

1/2 cup whole milk

2 eggs

1 TB coconut oil, melted

1/2 TB baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar


1.  Mix everything together.  Bake in a greased 8 x 8 square pan for about 35 minutes until golden brown.

2.  Dip it, top it, eat it.


The bread was definitely a keeper, even if the soup was not. Tomato mentioned possibly draining the broth and using the cooked veggies in some sort of potato patties. I have doubts that this will materialize. Tomato, while skilled at many things, does not cook.

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