How to cook Wet fry beef & Chinsaga (African Spider plant). Cleome gynandra is a species of Cleome that is used as a green vegetable. It is known by many common names including Shona cabbage, African cabbage, spiderwisp, cat’s whiskers, chinsaga and stinkweed. It is an annual wildflower native to Africa but has become widespread in many tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. It is an erect, branching plant generally between 25 cm and 60 cm tall. Its sparse leaves are each made up of 3–5 oval-shaped leaflets. The flowers are white, sometimes changing to rose pink as they age. The seed is a brown 1.5 mm diameter sphere. The leaves and flowers are both edible. The leaves have a strong bitter, sometimes peppery flavor similar to mustard greens.
Typically, the leaves and shoots are eaten boiled or in stews. The leaves are often eaten in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they are often dried for storage, then cooked with milk or butter to reduce its bitter taste. In Uganda and Tanzania, the leaves are cooked with groundnut paste.
The plant is useful for intercropping due to its insect repellent properties. In Thailand, the leaves are a popular food item fermented with rice water as a pickle known as phak sian dong. The same pickle is also eaten in the northern states of Malaysia, and is known as jeruk maman.
Cleome gynandra is high in beta-carotene, folic acid, ascorbic acid and calcium. It also contains vitamin E, iron, and oxalic acid. Generally, the leaves are about 4.0% protein. The leaves also have antioxidative properties that can help with inflammatory diseases. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is sometimes used as a medicinal herb.
In Africa, it is often referred to as spinach or wild spinach (not to be confused with the common spinach). Names in native languages include munyevhe (Shona), murudi (Venda), ulude (Zulu), ombidi or omboga (Ovambo), echadoi (Teso), jobyo or ejobyo (Luganda), eshogi (Runyankore), chinsaga (Gusii), dek (Luo), etchilachaou (Nuni) and mgagani (Swahili), Tsisaka( Nyore). In Asia, it is known to different cultures as shwetahudhude (Bengali), tilavan (Marathi), vaminta or vayinta (Telugu), phak sian (Thai), maman (Malay), and màn màn trắng or màn ri trắng (Vietnamese). In Europe, it is known as feuilles caya or mozambe (French), and volatin, masambey, or jasmin de rio (Spanish).
It is an annual wildflower native to Africa but has naturalized across tropic and sub-tropical regions across Asia. It grows well in disturbed, well-drained soils, but is also drought-tolerant. It does not tolerate cold temperatures well, and is frost-tender. Cleome gynandra is considered an invasive weed in many places in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Pacific
How to cook Wet fry beef & Chinsaga (African Spider plant)
- Prepare your ingredients while the meat is boiling.
- Add water to the beef and let it boil some more then drain the excess water (broth) into a bowl.
- Add some cooking oil into the meat and let it cook slightly before adding your onions.
- Later add in the ginger and garlic mixture and let it cook for minute.
- Then add in the tomatoes and salt…let it cook.
- You can serve at this point or add in the broth to have soup if you prefer soup.
- When done serve with greens of your choice and ugali or any other accompaniment.
General Information and Agronomic Aspects:
- Origin: Spider plant originated in Africa and Tropical Asia but now has a worldwide distribution. The plants are usually 2-10 cm long and 2-4 cm wide.
- Flowers: The flowers are long and bear many small white or pink flowers. The elongate fruit resembles a pod, but is referred to as a capsule, containing many small, dark seeds.
- Cultivation: The plant is either cultivated or harvested from the wild.
- Maturity: It is a fast-growing plant that is ready for harvest in as few as three weeks.
Usage and benefits;
- The leaves are eaten as a cooked green vegetable, have a mildly bitter taste and contain 5% protein, 6% carbohydrates and are high in vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
- Spider plant is used as a vegetable, and as such adds important nutrients to the diet in rural areas not only in Kenya, but in both East and Southern Africa.
- The leaves are usually cooked when fresh but may also be dried and stored for up to two years although this practice greatly reduces the crop’s nutritional value.
Mgagani (Swahili), Thageti (Kikuyu), Tsisaka (Luhya), Alot-dek (Luo), Saget (Kalenjin), Chinsaga (Kisii), Mwianzo (Kamba), Jjobyu (Luganda), Yobyu (Lusoga)
African cabbage, African spider flower, African spider plant, Spider wisp, Cat’s whiskers
Pests & Diseases: aphids and beetles.
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