Mafé, is a Senegalese Peanut stew that is found all over West Africa and Sub Saharan Africa and is one of the many variations of the Groundnut/Peanut Stew of West Africa. Believed to be the traditional food of the Wolof and Bambara people of Senegal and Mali, it is a stew with meat, root vegetables and ground peanuts or peanut paste (peanut butter).
I was first introduced to West African Cuisine a few months ago by a cyber friend when he posted a picture and a link to this recipe. Since then I’ve made quite a few dishes from Senegal, Congo, Gambia et al and must confess to having fallen in love with the food! This recipe has been adapted from a host of different sources, the traditional Mafé would use a lot more ground peanuts or peanut butter than I have here. Despite being a peanut butter lover, I balked at the thought of all that peanut butter in my stew, the taste is amazing though, there is quite a lot of chilli in here and I have found that a combination of a fresh habanero (scotch bonnet), hot sauce and chilli flakes gives the best flavour.
In West Africa, Mafé is quite often served with fonio, a grain commonly cultivated and consumed there, but I like to have it with cous cous or rice, the main reason of course is that we can’t get fonio where I am!
The amount of chilli given here will produce a pretty hot stew. If you’re not keen on the heat, exchange the Scotch Bonnet for an ordinary red chilli. I am using beef in this recipe, any meat will do and vegetarians, substitute the meat with all manner of root vegetables and even courgettes and okra.
Chop the vegetables to roughly about the same size, I like to go for an about an inch. Don’t be put off by the long-ish list of ingredients, it’s all about assembling it together, then it’s child’s play.
- 500g lean minced beef
- 500ml beef or chicken stock (homemade or good shop bought)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced width wise
- 1 habanero/scotch bonnet, halved
- 1 small can of chopped tomatoes (200g)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree/paste
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped
- 1 large aubergine, chopped
- 1 green capsicum, chopped
- 1 tbsp hot sauce (any brand, the sort that has a vinegary tang)
- 4 tbsp smooth or crunchy peanut butter
- dash of chilli flakes
- dash of freshly ground black pepper
- half - 1 tsp salt, to taste
- juice of half a lemon/1 tsp clear vinegar
- Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic, cook for a minute.
- Add the meat and brown all over, for about 10 minutes, breaking it up as you go along.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, and cook on a simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add everything else in, stir well, cover and cook for another 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through, just a little on the soft side. Check seasoning and adjust if need be.
Serve with cous cous or rice and a green salad.