This Senegalese Mafé is a delicious and sumptuous Chicken stew that also happens to be chock-full of hearty chunks of sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and cabbage, all blanketed in a creamy, slightly spicy tomato peanut sauce.
Up until recently, I had no idea that Senagalese Mafé even existed; I just heard about it a few weeks ago and got very curious, so I started researching it and studied countless recipes. Then, of course, I decided to try it for myself!
This was my first time making the West African stew at home, so I can’t speak for its authenticity… What I can speak for, however, is it’s utter yuminess! WHOA! This stuff is seriously good, and soooooo crazy tasty!
If you aren’t familiar either, Senegalese Mafé is a very simple tomato peanut based stew, which is traditionally made with lamb or beef meat, although chicken can also be used, and then filled with all kinds of veggies, more typically cabbage and root vegetables, but I’ve seen a few versions which called for eggplant and/or zucchini…
It’s usually served wish a side of cooked rice or couscous… All in all, it’s a fairly versatile dish that’s pretty easy to make, super healthy and crazy yummy.
Personally, I am completely sold. Hope you will like it too!
Heat a splash of olive oil in a saute pan (ideally one that has a fitting lid) set over medium heat; add your pieces of chicken and cook until they turn opaque pretty much all around, about 5 minutes. Add a diced onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic, a couple of tablespoons of grated ginger and about a teaspoon of chili pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt and pepper; stir well and continue cooking until the onion has softened slightly, about 1 minute.
Add 2 diced fresh tomatoes, 1/4 cup of tomato paste and 4 cups of chicken broth, then stir until the tomato paste is entirely mixed in…
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on a slow simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, to develop flavors.
Now throw your carrots, sweet potato, rutabaga and cabbage right in, mix delicately until they are completely immersed in the hot liquid, then continue to simmer, uncovered, until the veggies are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Note that you don’t have to stick to this exact selection of vegetables… cabbage is a must if you want to stay true to the authentic Senegalese stew, but other than that, you could use a combination of any root vegetable that you like, or even squash, eggplant or zucchinis… Just be sure to respect the veggies’ respective cooking times and add them when you feel the time is right…
When the veggies are cooked to your liking, put 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter in a mixing bowl and to it, add one or two ladlefuls of the hot tomato sauce from the stew, then whisk until well combined;
Continue adding more of that sauce to the peanut butter, one ladleful at a time, until it becomes thin enough to easily blend in with the rest of the sauce when you add it to the pan…
Once it has reached the right consistency, add the peanut butter mixture to the pan and stir well.
Remove the pan from heat, stir in a handful of chopped parsley (or cilantro, if you’re a fan) and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and a dash of smoked paprika, if desired.
Serve your Senagalese Mafé piping hot, with a side of steamed white rice or couscous or quinoa… or cauli-rice, if you’d rather not do grains!
- 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size chunks
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp grated ginger root
- 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1" chunks
- 1/4 medium rutabaga, cut into 1" chunks
- 1/4 small cabbage, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley or cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat; add the chicken and cook until opaque pretty much all around, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt and pepper; stir well and continue cooking until the onion has softened slightly, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomato, tomato paste and chicken broth, stir until the tomato paste is entirely mixed in; bring to a simmer, cover and cook on a slow simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, to develop flavors.
- Add the carrots, sweet potato, rutabaga and cabbage, mix delicately until they are completely immersed in the liquid, then continue to simmer, uncovered, until the veggies are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Put the peanut butter in a mixing bowl and to it, add one or two ladlefuls of the tomato sauce, then whisk until well combined; continue adding more sauce to the peanut butter, one ladleful at a time, until it becomes thin enough to easily blend in with the rest of the sauce; add that to the pan and stir well.
- Remove from heat, stir in chopped parsley (or cilantro) and garnish with a handful of chopped peanuts and a dash of smoked paprika, if desired.
- Serve with a side of white rice or couscous or quinoa