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Congolese Chow

April 28 & 29

Josiane Kinkolenge is the oldest of four. Her family is of the Muluba-kat tribe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As the oldest, Josiane’s mother made sure she learned to cook at a young age. Josiane hated cooking at the time, but her cooking skills came in handy when her mom was away for a year working as a traveling nurse. While her mother was away, Josiane cooked for her siblings and father.

In 2005, her father, an engineer by training, moved to Kansas City, MO, for a graduate program in theology. He felt the family would have a better life in the US, so he moved first in order to build a solid foundation for the family.

In 2013, the rest of the family began relocating to the states. And in 2016, after a few years in NYC, the family moved to Georgia. Josiane spent her high school years living with relatives in DC. While high school was stressful, she discovered cooking was a good stress reliever. And when she saw how much others enjoyed her food, it was a revelation.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Josiane is working full-time as a Certified Nurses Assistant. However, she’s still passionate about food and is starting a catering business on the side. Her dream is to open a Congolese restaurant.

About Congolese Cuisine

Formerly known as Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or Congo-Kinshasa is the second largest country in Africa. Corn, rice, cassava, sweet potato, yam, taro, plantains, pumpkin, tomatoes, peas, and nuts are popular crops in the DRC. It’s common for proteins to be served with a starch – often fufu or rice. Fish are plentiful thanks to the Congo River, its tributaries, and various lakes. In addition to being baked, boiled, or fried, fish are often smoked or salted to preserve them.


Fufu (Foo-foo, Foufou, Foutou, fu fu) is a staple across Western and Central Africa, and it can be found on every Congolese table. Fufu is a puree of boiled white yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, or cassava that’s typically formed into a ball. It’s used to scoop up stews and sauces during a meal. Josiane makes her fufu with plantains and corneal for a sweet flavor.


Before grilling the mackerel, Josiane cuts the fish and smears a mix of garlic and ginger, so it’s packed with flavor!


Pondu (or Saka Safa) is eaten across both Congo countries and Cameroon. In this popular dish, cassava leaves are pounded and cooked with onion and a hint of peanuts.


Matembele (or Matembela) is the Lingala word for sweet potato leaves. Sweet potatoes are common throughout tropical Africa, and sweet potato leaves are widely consumed in Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Uganda. In western Africa, this potato leaf stew is usually made with meat, but in DRC, it’s typically vegetarian.


These small dried anchovies,nicknamed 1000 poisons, are small but packed with flavor. Josiane imports her ndakala from the DNC and prepares them with tomato, garlic, and onion. Ndkala are typically enjoyed with fufu.

Supu Ya Mboga

Josiane’s mom taught her to make this luscious veggie soup with potato, sweet potato, zucchini, cucumber, onions, and carrots. It’s originally with fish, but my mom taught me not to make it with fish.

Ngulu Yako Tumba (pork) and Ntaba (beef)

In DRC, it’s common to serve several proteins at the same meal. Josiane is serving both grilled pork and beef that she seasoned before grilling outside.


Our grilled meats are with tomato rice from the Middle East part of Congo.


These African beignets (known as puff-puff in western Africa) are a very popular dessert and snack. These fried balls of dough will be served with homemade strawberry sauce.

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