Manchup: Cape Verde’s National Dish is a Savory Mix

Manchup Beans

LC reader Mary Cannon wrote in, asking if we had a recipe for manchup. A quick search of the Web told me that manchup is a dish from the Cape Verde Islands, but nothing more. Additional searches found very few recipes from Cape Verde, and none of them for manchup. Suspecting that the dish’s name might have variant spellings, I tried looking for anything that sounded reasonably close to manchup, on the Internet and in books on West African cuisine (since I couldn’t find any Cape Verdean cookbooks).

No luck.

Human nature being what it is, food writers can usually count on the nostalgia that people feel for the cooking of their homeland. A query was posted to a bulletin board for Cape Verdean émigrés. Four people read it, but none answered. There was still one avenue of hope: t’s embassy in Washington, DC. An appropriately desperate e-mail was sent, explaining the problem.

An hour later, Jose Brito, the Republic of Cape Verde’s ambassador to the United States, wrote back. According to Brito, “Cachoupa [is] translated here in the US [as] manchup.” This was a significant clue. Going back to the Cape Verdean recipe sites, finding an answer became a relatively simple matter — although cachoupa’s name does indeed have a variant spelling: cachupa. But where did the name manchup come from? It’s apparently a corruption of munchupa, a name for cachupa that is used on Brava Island, at the southwestern end of the Cape Verde archipelago.

Cachupa is the national dish of Cape Verde. Like other great rustic dishes, such as the cassoulet of France and feijoada of Brazil, it uses highly seasoned meats in relatively small amounts together with grains and beans, and is slowly cooked to build a great depth of flavor. And like those dishes, it is even better when reheated the next day.

Cape Verdeans created one of the first fusion cuisines, incorporating the tastes and ingredients of Europe (livestock), Africa and Asia (sugar and tropical fruits), and the Americas (beans, chiles, corn, pumpkins, and manioc). They were able to do so because of their location: Just off the west coast of Africa, they were ideally suited as a stopping point, first for Portuguese explorers, and later for slave traders.

Cachupa can be very simple — barely more than samp (hominy), beans, and some salt pork, much like old-fashioned succotash. This simple peasant fare is known as cachupa povera. Wealthier Cape Verdeans — or even the poor, on special occasions, such as weddings — add more ingredients, such as a little meat or fish, in which case the dish is known as cachupa sabe, a more savory dish, like Brunswick stew. At the other end of the spectrum you’ll find cachupa rica — the richest variation. Like feijoada completa, it’s a long way from the simple peasant dish of legumes and grain. Here is a recipe for cachupa rica.

Note: This recipe doesn’t indicate the number of portions or portion size; it has been edited, but not tested.

Cape Verdean Foods and Cooking

Cachupa Rica

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 40 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves a crowd
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In a stock pot, combine 6 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Add soaked hominy and beans. Simmer until nearly fork-tender.

In a separate pot, brown the spareribs, chouriço or linguiça, blood sausage, and bacon, then add the green beans, cabbage, plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, and squash. Set aside.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then cook in skillet filmed with olive oil until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and the meat-vegetable mixture to the stock pot of hominy and beans. Cook on low heat for approximately 40 minutes. Add the sofrito to taste, and simmer 20 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.

Arrange the meats and vegetables on platter. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve the hominy and beans in a separate bowl.

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  1. This is not catchup. Cilantro & sofrito are Spanish seasonings that are not found in Cape Verde. This is a custom way, but no where near as good as the simple catchupa. I’m from Brava, I am yet to hear anyone from there call it manchup.

    1. Buddacup, as I’m sure you read in the article, Jose Brito, the Republic of Cape Verde’s ambassador to the United States, says that manchup is the anglicized version of the word cachupa/catchupa.

    1. Thanks, jc. We’ve heard many different interpretations, and this falls in line with several of them.

    1. Thanks, Dailene. As we discover more about this dish, we are learning that it seems to be unique to Americans.

    2. I’m 54, half Cape Verdean born and raised in the U.S. Growing up, I knew it as manchupa or manchup. I was told my mom’s people were from Brava. This was my experience.

  2. The reason you aren’t finding recipes is because “Mantchup” doesn’t exist. The word you should search is “Catchupa”. Mantchup, as you referenced it, is a made up word by 2nd generation Cape Verdeans in the New Bedford and Wareham areas mostly. I grew up in New Bedford after immigrating to the US from Cape Verde in the late 80’s and some of the dish names were pretty much destroyed. E.g they called arroz com fijon (rice and beans) “jag”, catchupa, mantchup and a myriad of dish names that were all results of decades of misunderstood English and cape verde crioulo words that were never corrected and eventually made it into main stream verbiage.

    1. Chiya, there are many versions and types of cachupa. In São Tomé and Principe, they use green beans. It’s the same with Portuguese dishes. I raise my eyebrows at certain variations of dishes, but it was always due to them being different from what I knew and grew up on. Eventually, I realized food is as unique as a fingerprint.

  3. I’m 100% Brava Cape Verdean. So, yes. We call it Manchupa. Or Munchupa. My big issue with this recipe, and they do differ from Island to island, is cabbage. I’ve never heard of this. It’s always been Kale not cabbage.

    1. Hello, proud Cape Verdean Jim! Kale is a member of the cabbage family, but you raise a good point. I’m adding “kale” in the ingredients. And your manchupa looks great!

    2. Hi, I’m Andy Monteiro 4th generation Cape Verdean. We grew up on all these hearty soups/stews. We always put cabbage in munchoup and kale in kale soup which is also great.

  4. Hi, my name is Amber. I’m half Cape Verdean. My mom’s family is full cape verdean. Their last names are Gonsalves and DeGraca. I’m from Rhode Island and grew up eating monchup. My mom keeps it secret as well. I’m the only one out of her kids that knows how to make it. I love it! I really miss jag as well. I want to make it but I can’t fund linguicia anywhere! Trying to find out more about my ancestors and which island’s we come from. Take care and God bless!

    1. Hello everyone. Hi Amber! My great grandfather is Cape Verdean and I have a lot of family in Providence Rhode Island. I was speaking with an Aunt today for this recipe as my grandmother and mother made with linguiça and she also recalled kale. Happy to have found this page and nice to meet Cape Verdeans.–Stacy

  5. I was one of the lucky persons to learn how to make munchupa. Passed the knowledge to my sister and daughter. I could eat this dish daily. My friends that have tasted it keep asking when I’m going to cook it again. Samp is not available in Arizona, so I make it only 4 times a year. Makes me homesick, when I’m eating it I think how nice it would be to have my family gathering around my kitchen.

    1. Lovely. Thank you for sharing, Joanna. I, too, live in Arizona and find that many ingredients that I would like to work with are not here, but we still have our memories. Funny how food possesses the capacity to conjure so many moments from our past…

  6. Thank you for your informative post and recipe! I am currently in the process of cooking the national dish from every country, and this week’s its Cape Verde! I disclose on my blog that none of the recipes I use are of my own creation. Furthermore, I post the link for each recipe I use in the “Recipe Links” section for people interested in recreating the dish I post. Excited to recreate this dish!

  7. I have been making cachupa for years and absolutely love hearing about all the different variations from Portugal to CV! My family would use the fava beans, large lima, and kale also. My favorite is after its cooked and waking up the day after and making a hash with it and frying in skillet and putting eggs on top! Amazing if you have not tried you should!

  8. Sofia, canja is a soup that is good for when you have a hangover. You can make cachupa, but when it is done it is soupy. When you put it in the fridge, it will become less soupy because of the beans and the samp. To reheat it, add a little water and enjoy. I make it all the time. But I include cabbage and collard greens and 13 beans and smoked and fresh neck bones with large and small shell beans.

    1. Edward, thanks for the comments. Canja is indeed good for a hangover, a cold, or anytime you have the blues. It’s pure comfort food, isn’t it? Your version of cachupa sounds amazing. I’m sure that the smoked and fresh neck bones really add a nice flavor. Usually when I have leftovers of cachupa I actually like adding plain canja to add a tad more chicken flavor. But am sure water works just as well. Do you simply add water or a bit of salt, too? Thanks for the comments, Edward.

  9. I just finished making cachupa, and I did it in a CrockPot. My health isn’t that great, and I can’t stand over a stove for 8 hours. I’m mixed Portuguese, Madiran, and Cape Verdean—the best of all worlds. I grew up eating foods from all three cultures. My family didn’t use red beans of any type but can’t wait to try this recipe. Also, my grandmother and mother cooked theirs for 8 to 10 hours. Can’t wait to try a 4-hour version.

    Canja, in my opinion, is very easy to mess up and quite hard to make. I have had a lot of really bad canja and only two great ones, by my mother and the gentleman who taught her. It’s all in the butter, or it tastes like the bland American version of chicken. Don’t mean to insult American cooks, but there is a big difference in flavor. So if anyone can give me a good canja recipe, I will be so grateful and will cherish it. I make guofong evry Sunday for my son.

    1. lisa, when you make the cachupa, please let us know.

      As far as canja, do you mean the Portuguese chicken soup recipe? I’m not familiar with any that have butter as an ingredient.

    2. Lisa,

      I am Portuguese and I grew up with my grandmother making canja very often. Canja is a chicken broth, very liquify and translucent. Not sure if this is at all how your family used to make it, but my grandmother always used to make canja starting with good salted butter, then lots of onions (about 2 to 3 chopped onions), garlic (about 4 to 5 minced cloves), and herbs (she would use what was in season). Then she would add 2 to 3 grilled or broiled chicken carcasses with some meat on them. She would fill the pot with water and let it simmer for a good few hours. Then she would strain the broth, and voilà, a simple yet tasty canja. Does this sound similar to how your family made it? Meanwhile, there are two recipes on this site that I also love. This first chicken stock recipe in many ways is similar to the canja I grew up with, just without the butter, which makes it a lighter version. This second chicken stock recipe made in a slow cooker is also pretty good, as you do not have to worry about it. Though I love them both, I must say I prefer the first one.

    3. My mother’s Canja
      Brown chicken in one stick butter with onion and garlic and 4 stalks celery.
      Season with poultry seasoning, garlic power, salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste
      Add generous water and cook until chicken is tender but not all the way done. Add one cup of rice and cook until rice and chicken are done.
      Some recipes add tomato sauce but my mother didn’t.

  10. My parents are from Brava, and most cachupa recipes made there are not similar to the one here. The best cachupa is made simple without a lot of stuff. The ingredients are collard greens, dried hominy or samp, white dry lima beans, and ham (shoulder). You can use salt pork for extra flavor and bay leaves, but these are not needed. Sauté onions with butter and add to the pot just before everything is done. Most American people who try this recipe will tell you that this is the best way to have it. Simple is better.

    1. Hello, Kim. Thanks for writing. I appreciate your passion for the subject of cachupa, but please understand that your family’s experiences may not be like those of other families in Brava. Some families may feed fava beans to the animals, others may eat it themselves. While we encourage our commenters to explain their own personal experiences, we ask that you also respect the experiences of others. I have removed one of your comments. Please take another read of our Comment Policy.

      1. I did not mean to offend anyone here. I just made a true statement about how people in Brava use fava beans, not that fava beans are not good to eat but that we don’t eat it. This blog should reflect the truth about someone’s culture and not lies. People in Brava respect one another dearly, as we are family and close friends.

        1. Hi Kim. I appreciate your candor, and I agree that the comments should accurately reflect people’s culture. But there are others here whose family are from Brava and who eat fava beans and include them in cachupa–it’s not animal feed to them. It’s clearly not lies to them and telling them so is disregarding their truth. Several people complained, so I felt deleting the comment was the best thing to do. But I greatly appreciate your contribution to the thread about canja (one of my favorites–my grandmother made it all the time) and the clarity you brought to how your family makes cachupa. And I encourage you to tell us more about how your family prepares its favorite Cape Verdean foods. Perhaps we’ll hear from others whose families prepare them differently. It will add depth to this post.

  11. HELP…As a kid growing up CV in MA (the Boston to New Bedford area), my grandmother and my mother always made manchupa It had samp, cracked corn, linguiça, and sometimes pork ribs and butternut squash. It was very soupy and even stew-like. My mom and Nana have since passed, and I don’t have their recipe, but maybe someone out there can help. I believe Nana was from Brava and grandpa was from Fogo, if that helps. I understand that there are many variations of manchupa and cachupa, but does this recipe even sound familiar to anyone or has my fam just come up with their own recipe? I have even asked some of my cousins about this, to no avail. If there is someone out there that can shed some light, please feel free…

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Steve, let me throw your question out to some of our testers and see if we can get you an answer.

        1. Steve,
          Sorry this took so long to reply. I am Portuguese and was very fortunate to have often tried cachupa back in Portugal. As you said, there are many variations of it, depending on one’s family’s recipes. I tried this one, and it came out pretty similar to what I have had in the past. The main difference is that this recipe was not as soupy as the ones I had back home and also a little meatier. So as a base, I would certainly go with this recipe then start tweaking it to taste. I would advise if you also like it with more broth to add some beef stock. Hope this helps you, and keep us posted if you end up trying this recipe.

    2. Steve, I make cachupa all the time. I learned to make this from my mother. Cachupa takes about 4 hours to make, so while it cooks in the 3rd hour or so the cachupa is soupy and still delicious even if it not thick and ready. I prefer to eat it this way instead of having it thick like stew. My mother called it Caldo de Cachupa.

    3. A lot of people that lived in Brava orginally came from Fogo because of the volcanic eruption there. So basically the foods are the same. Brava is the prettier of the two islands, and the people are most closely related.

  12. I’m full blood CV, reppin’ Brava and Fogo. My grandmother lived with me my whole life until she passed when I was 22, three years ago. So cachupa kanji and gufong were always in my home. Just had a bowl of this this morning lol. Can’t wait until the St. John’s Fest.

    1. Hey Kyle, My ancestors are from Brava also, could you please post your cachupa—we called it manchupa kanji and gufong—recipes? I’d really appreciate it, as all have passed without passing the recipes to the right ones. Some of my family keep them secret.

      1. Canja is a very simple recipe. It’s simply chicken and rice soup. Spice your chicken, then sear it in the stockpot, add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, and add rice (River Rice brand works the best) along with butter, paprika, and onions and cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

        1. I grew up on Cape Cod where my grandparents were both full blooded CV. My grandfather came to the US when he was 19 from Brava. As a young child, I loved to help cook. And I was always asking to help my grandparents cook. My grandfather taught me how to make canja. We always added bay leaves to our stock when we were simmering the canja. It gives it a great flavor.

  13. I had cachupa for the very first time and couldn’t wait to find in on Google, and I am so happy I found it. I’m so fortunate I live at the height of IT.

  14. It’s always a breath of fresh air whenever I can read anything about Cape Verdean culture, especially food. My parents and relatives are from Fogo, Cabo Verde. I was looking for cachupa recipes and came across your page. I must say that the way my parents and relatives have prepared their cachupa has been very different from the recipe you describe. Usually there is a combination of vegetables (collard greens and/or carrots), beans (dried lima beans), hominy, and pork. Peppercorn was an ingredient that surprised me since I have never heard or seen any CV from MA using it in ANY recipe. I do think that different CV use different variations. I recently went to France to visit CV from Sal, and they had kidney beans in their cachupa…that was a first for me. It only makes me wonder, have I been cheated out of authentic CV food all my life? :)

    1. I’m glad this provided a little trip down memory lane, jayd.

      One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there is no such thing as an “authentic” dish. There may be certain guidelines— certain techniques and ingredients—that define a classic dish, but actual execution is never the same, and never has been. Invariably, from region to region, even household to household, substitutions are always made. They may be due to seasonal availability of ingredients, personal preferences, any reason at all.

      When I was at the CIA, one could always launch a massive argument by claiming that there is only one proper way to do something as simple as trussing a chicken. With 100 expert chefs on hand, there could easily be 150 “only ways” to do it.

      Whenever I see the term “authentic recipe,” I automatically take it with a grain—or teaspoon, or gram, or cup—of salt.

      1. Amen…..there is a basic recipe, and every island, every cook has added their own pizzazz. My grandfather came to New Bedford, MA, from Brava and always had a hugh pot on the stove on Sundays. We were raised calling it munchup. This issue with the proper name reminds me of the racial issue in my community while growing up about light-skinned Cape Verdeans and dark-skinned Cape Verdeans. One group thought they were better than the other when actually they weren’t by any means. Like this dish: Does it really matter if we call it Cachupa or Munchupa what matters is the delight of the dish.

  15. Thank you Gary for an excellent background on the Cape Verdean dish, “Cachupa” and Cape Verdean cuisine. My family (from Brava) called it both manchup and cachupa, and my mom’s version is the dried corn, fava beans, kidney beans, butter beans, mandioca (yucca), kale, onion, pork or beef, and pig’s feet—typical of most cachupa I have eaten made by different Cape Verdean ladies in the SE Massachusetts Cape Verdean community.

    When I went to Cape Verde last year, some restaurants only serve it certain days of the week, and many people eat the leftovers fried for breakfast. Of course, some ladies were/are well-known for their cachupa, like Mary Tabor of my childhood.


    1. Hey Rocky…I’m going to ask your mom if she can make me some. Didn’t know uncle John’s party had some…

      Your cuz,


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