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

This recipe for manchup was based on a reader’s search for this seemingly elusive dish. With a little luck and even more outside-the-box thinking, Gary Allen found it.

A pot of manchup or cachupa, the national dish of Cape Verde.

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: Cape Verde’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.

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

☞ Contents

Manchup | Cachupa

A pot of manchup or cachupa, the national dish of Cape Verde.
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.

Prep 40 mins
Cook 2 hrs 20 mins
Total 3 hrs
20 servings
516 kcal
5 / 7 votes
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  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups dried hominy soaked in plenty of water overnight
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans soaked plenty of water overnight
  • 1 cup dried large lima beans soaked plenty of water overnight
  • 2 pounds beef or pork spareribs
  • 1 chouriço or linguiça sausage sliced
  • 1 blood sausage sliced
  • 1/4 pound lean bacon diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh green beans
  • 2 pounds cabbage or kale coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds plantains peeled and sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh yams peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 2 pounds fresh sweet potatoes peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 2 pounds winter squash peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 1 chicken cut in 12 serving pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds tomatoes quartered
  • Sofrito (a seasoning paste of sauteed garlic, onion, and tomato paste), to taste
  • Cilantro chopped


  • 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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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 516kcal (26%)Carbohydrates: 63g (21%)Protein: 25g (50%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 71mg (24%)Sodium: 391mg (17%)Potassium: 1593mg (46%)Fiber: 11g (46%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 12333IU (247%)Vitamin C: 51mg (62%)Calcium: 100mg (10%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

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Originally published September 14, 2009


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 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.

  2. 5 stars
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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