Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

West African Mafé by Nadine Nelson

By Nadine Nelson of Global Local Gourmet

West African Mafé

West African Mafé by Nadine Nelson

As we all know, African Americans and all Black people throughout the world originated from the continent of Africa and most specifically from the west coast. The quintessential West African dish is Mafé. It’s popular predominantly in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali and the Ivory Coast. However, many African countries have different versions of this peanut butter boiled pot. Mafé is a stew with a combination of meat, vegetables, and/or beans simmered in a sauce thickened with ground peanuts. The dish has a wonderful salty sweet flavor redolent of peanut butter which everyone loves making this the  perfect family meal. It also is a superb way to pack in a variety of vegetables or beans based on the season and the availability in your panty. As we celebrate Kwanzaa let us remember the significant history, Africans in the world have made especially in our kitchens. Similar to Gumbo, Low Country Stew, Hunters Stew, and other tomato based dishes, Mafé is a lovely way to celebrate the culinary contributions of Motherland.

Mafé (West African Meat in Peanut/Groundnut Sauce)-Serves 6

1 to 3 pound chicken cut in pieces
1 large potato
1 small sweet potato
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large onion
1 small cabbage cut in 1/2-inch pieces (or 6 Brussels sprouts)
1/2 pound carrots, rough sliced
1/2 pound parsnips, rough sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 large tomato
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (optional) or jalapeño (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

In a large pot, heat oil until hot and brown chicken pieces on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside. In the same frying pan, add the onions and sauté until limp and slightly brown. Add the tomato paste and salt, and stir well. Add all the prepared vegetables and fish sauce to the pot. Return the chicken to the pot and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Check the vegetables to avoid overcooking, removing them to a bowl as they are done. When all the vegetables are cooked and removed from the stew, add the peanut butter 1 tablespoon at a time to make sure it is well dissolved in the broth. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper(or jalapeño), if using and simmer until broth thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Return all the vegetables to the pot and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve over white rice, polenta, cous cous, or fufu.

• Use goat, beef, use chicken pieces, pork, tofu
• You can also add beans
• You can add a wide variety of vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, okra, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, etc.

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at


This entry was posted on December 22, 2014 by in Recipe and tagged , , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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