If you haven’t seen it, The Cooking Channel has a show on Friday nights, Taste in Translation, that goes around the globe to experience the world’s most popular food. Of course, this inspired me to make one of the recipes for myself. Before I knew it, we were circling the globe and trying all sorts of dishes from far away places. Here’s a West African Mafe recipe you will definitely want to try.
West African Mafe
A popular dish native to West Africa, Mafe is a vegetarian stew thickened with peanut sauce. Allergic to peanuts? Don’t worry – I’ve got a tip below for you. But before we get there, here’s the Mafe recipe from The Cooking Channel:
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 4 carrots, cut in 1/2-finger size
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large potatoes, cubed
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon cumin
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups stock of your choice or water
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the peanut oil. Add the carrots, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions and mix well. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, cumin, thyme sprigs, chickpeas, salt and black pepper and mix well. Add the stock, making sure the level of the stock is above the veggies in the pot. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove. Stir in the creamy peanut butter, mix well and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with basmati rice, quinoa, couscous or fufu.
We made three small changes to our Mafe.
- First of all, we made our own peanut butter (see below for the recipe).
- We only used about 1/3 cup of oil as well.
- Also, instead of serving with basmati rice, quinoa, couscous or fufu, we had ours with pita bread. Indian Naan would work well, too.
Dinner Diva Tip: Are you allergic to peanuts? Try using almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.
Download and print the full Mafe recipe here.
Homemade Peanut Butter
We used this recipe from Alton Brown for our homemade peanut butter:
- 15 ounces shelled and skinned AB’s roasted peanuts, recipe follows
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut oil
Place the peanuts, salt and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- 2 pounds in-shell raw peanuts*
- 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
Cooks note: If eating peanuts roasted right out of the shell, use Virginia or Valencia peanuts. If utilizing roasted peanuts to make peanut butter, use Spanish peanuts as they have a higher oil content.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse the peanuts under cool water to remove excess dirt. Pat dry and place in a large bowl and toss with the peanut oil and salt until well coated.
Place on 2 half sheet pans, making sure to spread them out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Once you remove the peanuts from the oven, let them cool slightly before eating. They will continue to “cook” and become crunchy as they cool.
If using peanuts to make peanut butter, remove shells and discard. Remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts together in your hands held over a salad spinner, allowing the peanuts and skins to fall into the bowl. Once the skin has been loosened from all of the peanuts close the salad spinner and spin until all of the skin has been separated from the peanuts.
If you want to use raw shelled peanuts with skins (which are very inexpensive at an Asian market), roast them dry for 10 minutes, let them cool slightly, remove the skins as noted and then add a small amount of oil and salt and continue roasting 10-15 minutes (depending on how dark a roast you prefer).
Download and print the full recipe here.
Have you had West African Mafe before? How does this recipe compare? I look forward to hearing what you think!
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.