Mafé or Domoda – Chicken (or Mutton) and Peanut Stew

NOT an authentic recreation of the West African stew I enjoyed as Mafé in Senegal, or Domoda in The Gambia.  It’s just how it comes out of the family kitchen now, after 20 or more years experimentation and adaptation …

  • The palm oil (and the lovely richness of flavour it gives) – replaced by vegetable oil. Healthier, but … 😦
  • The vegetables (carrots, yams, quartered cabbage) have gone – we’re no longer serving enormous pots, for a large group to squat around and share!
  • There’s less peanut now – mostly as I’ve not found anything that’s quite the same as the plain, simple, unadulterated groundnut paste we could get there, unsalted, unsweetened. Peanut butter works – but it’s just not quite the same. Whatever you do, go for the peanut butter with the least additives – it must be at least unsweetened, and definitely smooth.
  • And the ever-present Maggi cubes have gone – replaced with a bit of thyme and lemon. It works!

Yup – a Chinese whispers recipe!

Ingredients – scaled down for 4 people

  • The meat – I use chicken.  [No reason why you shouldn’t use mutton or lamb – instead of the 15 minute “pre-cook” of the chicken on the stove top, I’d brown some gigot/leg chops or 1 inch cubes, set aside, and simmer a lot longer in the peanut sauce.]
    • 4 chicken portions (a chicken jointed, drumstick quarters, large breasts – whatever fits)
    • 4-5 cloves of garlic
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 2-3 tbsp oil (I use vegetable oil – palm oil has a special flavour and adds a colourful glisten, though)
    • thyme (1 tsp dried or a small bunch of fresh thyme/lemon thyme)
    • salt and pepper
  • The sauce
    • 1 onion
    • 1 tin tomatoes, or 1 tbsp tomato puree
    • 4 tbsp peanut butter (the closer you can get to an absolutely simple unadulterated paste of groundnuts, the better. Definitely no sugar/sweeteners, preferably unsalted, and smooth.)
    • Heat – to taste. At different times, I’ve used a Scotch Bonnet (nice for communal eating from a shared bowl), 2-3 green chillis, 2-3 chopped dried red chillis, or failing all else, just chilli powder

Method

  • The meat
    • Crush the garlic, add salt, fresh ground black pepper, lemon juice, and thyme; rub well into the chicken pieces, and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
    • Fry the chicken gently in the oil for 15-20 minutes. It won’t be fully cooked yet, but will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside while you make the sauce.
  • The sauce
    • Finely chop the onion, and set it to cook in the chicken juices and fat left in the pan for a few minutes; add whatever you are using for heat, and the tin of tomatoes/tomato puree. Cook again for a few minutes.
    • When the sauce has thickened slightly, add the peanut butter. Stir and add about ¾ pint/450ml water (or stock). Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Season according to the peanut butter you are using.
    • Now add the chicken pieces, and continue simmering, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is good and thick.
  • Serve piled on a bed of plain boiled rice.
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