Cachupa Recipe Cape Verde: Exploring the Signature Dish of the Islands

Cape Verde, an archipelago of ten islands located off the west coast of Africa, offers a rich and varied cuisine that reflects its diverse cultural influences. The gastronomic scene here is a fascinating blend of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavors, spiced up with a pinch of European sophistication. From fresh seafood caught straight from the Atlantic Ocean to locally grown fruits and vegetables, the food in Cape Verde is as vibrant and diverse as the islands themselves. In Cape Verde, food is not merely a means of sustenance but a celebration of the island’s rich culture and history. Each dish tells a story of the people, their struggles, and their triumph, making every meal a journey through their past and a glimpse into their future. The most iconic dish that embodies the spirit and culture of Cape Verde is the Cachupa.

Cachupa is a hearty stew, often referred to as the national dish of Cape Verde. Its preparation and consumption is a ritual that brings families and communities together. It is a symbol of the island’s resilience and resourcefulness, a testament to their ability to create something beautiful and nourishing out of the simplest ingredients.

What is Cachupa?

Cachupa is a slow-cooked stew made from a blend of corn, beans, and an assortment of meats or fish, depending on the region and availability. The beauty of Cachupa lies in its versatility and simplicity. Each family has its unique recipe, passed down through generations, making every pot of Cachupa a unique gastronomic experience.The base of the stew is always maize and beans, but the additional ingredients can vary from region to region and family to family. Some versions of the stew may include vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, or cassava, while others might incorporate fish or different types of meat. The end result is a nutrient-dense, flavorful dish that is both comforting and satisfying.The preparation of Cachupa is a labor of love. The ingredients are left to slow-cook for hours, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a rich, hearty stew that warms you up from the inside. It is often prepared in large quantities and shared among family and friends, making it a dish that truly embodies the spirit of community and togetherness that is so characteristic of Cape Verde.

The cultural significance of Cachupa in Cape Verde

Cachupa holds a special place in the heart of every Cape Verdean. It is more than just a dish; it is a symbol of the island’s history and culture. The process of preparing Cachupa is often a communal activity, where family members gather to share stories and laughter while the stew simmers slowly on the stove.Cachupa also plays a significant role in various cultural and religious events in Cape Verde. It is often served during weddings, baptisms, and other important celebrations. The dish is also associated with the Cape Verdean music genre called Morna, a melancholic style of music that speaks about love, loss, and longing. Many songs reference Cachupa, further cementing its status as a cultural symbol.Moreover, Cachupa is an emblem of the Cape Verdean diaspora. For many immigrants, preparing and eating Cachupa is a way to stay connected to their roots and heritage. It is a taste of home that transports them back to the islands, reminding them of the warmth and community spirit of Cape Verde.

Ingredients and quantities for a traditional Cachupa From Cape Verde

To prepare a traditional Cachupa, you will need the following ingredients:

– 2 cups of hominy corn- 1 cup of kidney beans

– 1 cup of lima beans

– 1 bay leaf

– 2 garlic cloves

– 1 onion, chopped

– 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks- 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into chunks

– 1 cup of pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks- 1 pound of pork, cut into chunks- 1 pound of goat meat, cut into chunks

– 1 pound of linguiça (Portuguese sausage), sliced

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

– 6 cups of waterThese quantities will serve approximately 6-8 people. Feel free to adjust the quantities according to your preference.

Step-by-step guide to preparing Cachupa

Preparing Cachupa may seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of patience and love, you can create a delicious and hearty stew that will impress your guests. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing a traditional Cachupa:

1. Soak the corn and beans in water overnight.

2. Rinse the soaked corn and beans and transfer them to a large pot.

3. Add the bay leaf, garlic, and onion to the pot.

4. Cover the ingredients with water and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about two hours until the corn and beans are tender.

6. Add the sweet potatoes, plantain, and pumpkin to the pot and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.

7. In a separate pan, brown the meats and sausage in vegetable oil.

8. Add the browned meat to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

9. Let the stew simmer for another hour until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

10. Serve the Cachupa hot with a slice of crusty bread on the side.Remember, the key to a great Cachupa is slow cooking. Don’t rush the process; let the ingredients simmer slowly and absorb all the flavors.

Tips and tricks for the perfect Cachupa

While preparing Cachupa is relatively straightforward, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect stew:

– Soak the corn and beans overnight to reduce the cooking time and to make them easier to digest.- Use a variety of meats to add depth to the flavor. Traditional Cachupa often includes a mix of pork, goat, and sausage.

– Don’t skip browning the meat. This step enhances the flavor of the stew and adds a rich, caramelized taste.

– Adjust the seasoning as per your preference. Cachupa is a versatile dish that can be tailored to suit your taste buds.

– Remember, patience is key. Cachupa is a slow-cooked dish, so don’t rush the process. Allow the stew to simmer slowly and the flavors to meld together.

Variations of Cachupa Recipe in Cape Verde

While the traditional Cachupa recipe is indeed delightful, there are several variations of the dish throughout Cape Verde. Each island has its unique take on the recipe, making Cachupa a truly diverse and versatile dish.In Santiago, the largest island in Cape Verde, Cachupa is usually made with a variety of meats, including chicken, pork, and sausage. On the island of Fogo, the stew is often prepared with fresh fish caught from the nearby sea. Vegetarians in Cape Verde also have a version of Cachupa, where the meat is replaced with an assortment of local vegetables and legumes.

Regardless of the variation, one thing remains constant: the use of corn and beans as the base of the stew. This combination provides a hearty and filling dish that is both nutritious and delicious.

Where to taste the best Cachupa in Cape Verde

If you’re visiting Cape Verde, tasting a traditional Cachupa is a must. While you can find the dish in almost every restaurant and household in the islands, there are a few places that are particularly renowned for their Cachupa.In the capital city of Praia, the restaurant Quintal da Música is famous for its delicious Cachupa. The restaurant also offers live music performances, making it a great place to enjoy a meal while immersing yourself in the local culture. In the town of Assomada, the restaurant O Poeta is another great spot to taste a traditional Cachupa. The restaurant is known for its rustic ambiance and friendly service.

Remember, the best Cachupa is often found in the homes of the locals. If you get an invitation to a Cape Verdean home, don’t miss the opportunity to taste a homemade Cachupa.# Pairing options for CachupaCachupa is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed on its own. However, if you wish to enhance your culinary experience, there are a few pairing options that go well with the stew.A slice of crusty bread is a traditional accompaniment to Cachupa. You can also pair the stew with a serving of rice or a side of fried plantains for a more filling meal. For drinks, a glass of local wine or grogue, a Cape Verdean rum, complements the rich flavors of the stew.


Cachupa is not just a dish, it’s an experience, a window into the soul of Cape Verde. Its rich flavors, diverse ingredients, and cultural significance make it a dish worth trying. Whether you’re preparing it at home or tasting it on the islands, Cachupa is a culinary journey that is bound to leave a lasting impression on your palate. So next time you’re craving a hearty and flavorful stew, remember the Cachupa and let it transport you to the vibrant islands of Cape Verde.

Siti Bane
Siti Bane
Emerging from Africa's diverse culinary landscape, Siti Bane, in her mid-40s, epitomizes the essence of the continent's rich gastronomic heritage. As the Blog Editor for 70recipes, she marries tradition with modernity, inviting readers to experience the true flavors of Africa.

More from author

Related posts

Latest posts

Uji Recipe From East Africa

Uji: East Africa's Wholesome Breakfast Tradition A breakfast favorite across East Africa, Uji is a thick, hearty porridge with roots that stretch deep into the...

Injera Recipe From Ethiopia

Injera: A Pillar of Ethiopian Cuisine Deep-rooted in Ethiopian culture and tradition, Injera stands as a testament to the culinary magic of fermentation. This unique,...

Ogiri Recipe From Nigeria

Ogiri: Nigeria's Aromatic Fermentation Marvel In the realm of Nigerian cuisine, few ingredients hold the mystical allure of Ogiri. This traditional West African seasoning, marked...