Let’s not beat around the bush: West African food recipes are inspirational, creative, and most of all… they are fun to say! No, really. Where else will you find foods with names like Dongo dongo or even fufu? But food from Congo is not only that. It is also delicious. Why do we say all this? Because it is true! And we will explain further as we progress. So get ready with your ingredients like okra and wheat gluten protein. Because we are teaching you how to cook okra stew, also called Congo Dongo dongo. And we are doing it the Humblevege way.  

Dongo Dongo recipe is part of West African food recipes. Experience this food from Congo & learn how to cook okra stew plus wheat gluten protein.
Congo dongo dongo

Dongo Dongo taste

It tastes not slimy and earthy thanks to our plant seafood mixture. Congolese Dongo should not be compared to other West African okra recipes because it is very different. From the image below, notice how Nigerians cut the okra finely along with a heaping of green vegetables? Congolese use chunky cut okra instead. Also, they use green eggplant and bell peppers in their okra sauce. Because the dongo recipe has chunky okra, it allows for a chewy texture which is very nice if you do not like your okra too slimy.

As someone who is a picky eater and has trust issues when trying new foods, I am pleasantly surprised by how I like Dongo dongo. I like the fact that I can add eggplants or green bell peppers. I chose to omit eggplants from this recipe because I want to make another version of dongo and add it then. Seriously, do try Congolese dongo (okra) sauce. It is very tasty and enjoyable.

Nigerian okra soup ingredients- Spinach & finely chopped okra

West African food recipes: Inspirational 

Why do we say food in Congo and around the West is inspirational? Because many have been encouraged to take these recipes, like how to cook okra stew, and give them a little remix. Congo Dongo dongo itself was the darling that led to the creation of the popular Gumbo in Louisiana, USA. History shows that okra is native to West Africa, and was carried into the Americas during the transatlantic slavery period. Gumbo comes from the West African ‘ki ngombo’ which means okra. And Congo Dongo dongo is basically an okra soup or sauce. So Gumbo is inspired by food in Congo but has European and American influence.

Congo dongo dongo  recipe.
Making Dongo dongo

But not all Gumbo recipes have okra, you might say. That’s because okra is used as a thickener, but some American recipes changed this and use other ingredients like File powder or the French Roux. Roux went from an alternative to okra, to the most used thickener. But in Africa okra is still popular. 

Congo Dongo dongo and Gumbo may sound like two different foods now. Even the cooking methods are different. More differences come from within Africa. The most popular differences are in the Congo version and the Central African Republic version. For example, in this Congolese version, you can add baking soda when you’re making it saucy, or tomato paste if you want a soup. The differences aren’t major, just use the one you prefer.

seafood flavor replacement-plantbased alternatives for seafood in cooking recipes.
seafood flavor replacement

What may still tie the recipes together greatly is the use of seafood like shellfish or smoked fish. But this is Humblevege. We don’t do that here. Instead, we will use our favorite wheat gluten protein/seitan. And yes, you can still get the full flavors of the dish by flavoring your seitan beforehand, while still keeping to your vegetarian lifestyle. Take a look at this recipe to learn how to make seafood wheat gluten protein. 

Benefits of Congo dongo dongo

We will get to how to cook okra stew, but for now, let’s take a look at how it is beneficial for our bodies. Seeing as dongo dongo means okra, that is what we will focus on first. From our Kittely and okra stew recipe, you’ll find that okra is rich in Vitamin C, A, B calcium, magnesium, and fiber. But that’s not all, because of its slimy texture, it helps lower cholesterol levels. And if you haven’t tried it before, don’t be scared away by the mention of a slimy texture. That’s what makes okra the delicious and fun food in Congo that it is. And the process of how to make okra stew itself is pretty easy and un-slimy.

How cook raw okra recipe. Let’s not beat around the bush: West African food recipes are inspirational, creative, and most of all… they are fun to say!
raw okra

We will finish off by taking a brief look at the benefits of wheat gluten protein as well. Check out this article on homemade seitan for more information on the benefits. Like the name suggests, it contains lots of protein. Protein is great for your cell health and formation. It is important in one’s diet and the first place to look is probably meat. But that isn’t necessary. This plant based alternative works perfectly. And no need to fear the extra carbs that come with plants. Wheat gluten protein is low in fat. 

seitan chunks homemade for stew. wheat gluten protein
how wheat protein is made

Time for some food from Congo

Whether you learn how to make okra stew in the Gumbo version, or the Central African Republic verison, you are still eating food from Congo. This is why we appreciate West African food recipes. They are suitable for everyone. Try out the different versions and let us know which you prefer. And of course, don’t forget to subscribe for more adventures around Africa, in the comfort of your home and to the relief of your wallet.

Related: Kivu Congo Coffee & White Elephant Drink


Uniquely delish Dongo dongo

Yield: 3.5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Congolese Dongo dongo taste wholesome and unlike any other African okra dish. The vegetables add flavor and an earthy zest we cannot compare to any other. Deliciously easy and worth tasting!


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vege cube
  • 10 oz okra (frozen diced or fresh dice)
  • Plant-protein (desire amount)
  • 2 TBSP Seafood essence Mixture
  • Half green pepper
  • 4 oz dice tomatoes
  • Quarter onion sliced
  • 3 TBSP organic canola oil
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


DISCLAIMER: This is version of dongo dongo is customized to our liking. To keep it authentic Congolese, do not cut the okra finely. See the image below for what the cut okra should look like.

In medium sized cooking pot, add onion and habanero to hot oil and cook 2 mins on low heat.

Next, add the tomato and cook until the water dries from it which should take 3-5 minutes depending on your stove.

After the water dries from the onion-tomato mixture, add in the okra and bell peppers. Note, you do not want to dice your okra finely because doing so increases the sliminess which is good if you want to make the Nigerian version. You want the okra to be chunky for Congolese dongo recipe. Proceed to cook the okra for 10 minutes on medium-low heat uncovered. raw-okra-congo-dongo-dongo_humblevege

Next, add in the salt and seafood flavor essence. This mixture is made by blending together dried flat seaweed, shitake mushrooms and another kind of seaweed. You may skip this or use puree hijiki seaweed. We bother to use seaweed for the seafood flavor because seafood is popular in Congo and in Dongo dongo.seafood-flavor-replacement_humblevege congo-west-africa-food-recipe_humblevege

After 10 minutes of cooking the okra, add in 1 cup of water, and add your plant-protein. Cover the pot and boil for 15 mins on medium-low heat.You want the sauce to be saucy and not soupy. Check it often and make sure it does dry out. plant-protein-plant-based-vegetarian-food_humblevege

Foodie-traveler and lover of all things authentic, you have made Congolese Dongo dongo, a national dish! Feel proud and enjoy! dongo-dongo-recipe_humblevege

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