This is a traditional Senegalese dish pronounced maah- fay that I learned about when watching a show about comfort foods around the world. As I watched the cook on tv put sweet potatoes, meat, spices, and peanut butter all in one pot I fell in love with the idea of the dish and just had to try it myself.
How could you not? Peanut butter and meat? I’d never seen such an amazing combination before.
(Mafe is indeed a french name)
They didn’t give terribly specific instructions on the show as to how to make it… so this recipe was a delicious experiment that according to my Senegalese friend seemed to be right in terms of flavors (aka super peanut- buttery).
What you need for my recipe:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped however
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 habanero (minced… also, please refer to https://meggsinthefridge.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/how-to-keep-chilis-off-your-willy-cooking-101/ to keep you and your sensitive parts safe)
- 1 sweet potato, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 red pepper, chopped into bite size pieces
- Several ounces (~12) of steak or other protein of choice
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1+ 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 8 oz chicken broth
- 1 cup peanut butter
- Cumin to taste (I used at least a tablespoon)
- Fresh chopped cilantro to taste
- Salt if you need it (you probably don’t)
- Peanuts to garnish
I guess now is as good a time as any to admit something to you: I didn’t cook the meat. I made my dearest guinea pig grill it instead because raw meat freaks me out. It’s just too… meaty?
But it tastes sooo good and it contains essential nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere.
So after giving the steak to my guinea pig to grill, here’s what you do:
- Chop everything up, this is really the rate limiting step… especially if you mishandle the habanero (don’t mishandle it)
- In a large pot, heat up the oil and cook the onions until they are soft, then add in the garlic (TIP: minced garlic cooks much faster than onions, so be sure to add the garlic second to keep it from burning)
- Next, put in all of your vegetables: sweet potato, pepper, habanero. Simmer them until just soft.
- Add in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and peanut butter; churn all until they are evenly incorporated. Add cumin to taste.
- If you’re much more comfortable than I am with raw meat you should certainly add in your bite- sized bits of meat and simmer it in the stew until fully cooked.
- Add cilantro and peanuts last and use them to garnish as well!
Now go pretend it’s cold out when it’s 75 degrees (it’s cold for Senegal, right?) and warm yourself up some more.
As a side note, I asked my Senegalese friend whether I made it correctly and she said I did. That response made me feel so cultured. Like Mr. Bush?