Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kyono Tema... Peanut Butter!

That's right, it's not just for sandwiches! Everyone knows it's also popular in desserts, but it has many uses in the main course. Have you ever eaten satay at a SouthEast Asian restaurant? Or peanut noodles at a Chinese one? Both made with peanut butter (best with all-natural, unsweetened peanut butter). If my memory serves me correctly, George Washington Carver developed multiple uses for peanuts in the United States, including peanut butter, but it has been made and used in Africa for much longer. I am mostly familiar with West African dishes. Mafe is a meat dish (usually lamb or chicken) that incorporates peanut butter in its sauce. A similar sauce can be combined with spinach (it sounds weird but it's excellent)! *Disclaimer: I haven't tried the mafe recipe but it sounds about like what i've had, although you might want to go a bit easier on the tomatoes than what they give. I have tried the spinach recipe and found that it needed more peanut butter.

Here is a recipe for African Peanut Stew. It was given to me by one of my professors, who does research in Cote d'Ivoire:

1-2 onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, cored and pureed
4 cups water*
2 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup or more creamy peanut butter**
1 habanero, pricked with a fork***

Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and peanut butter boils down (it should be fully incorporated with the other ingredients. at the beginning it won't be). This usually takes at least 30 minutes. Serve over plain white or brown rice and garnish with roasted peanuts.
Btw, i've tried stewing carrots and potatoes along with the sauce but found that the starch from the veggies ruins the sauce. If you want to have it with veggies, cook them seperately.
* The recipe calls for 4 cups of water. Sometimes the tomatoes are more watery than usual, so i start with 3 cups water and add more later if i need it. You don't want the sauce to disappear into the rice; it should be thick enough to sit on top of it until you mix it in.
** I lost the original recipe; this is the only measurement i'm not 100% sure of, but i think it's right. I usually add a bit more, though.
*** How well you prick the chile depends on how hot you want the stew. I prefer to prick it once (it's mild with just a bit of a kick that way). If you want it medium or hot, prick it 2 or 3 times or more. For you fire-eaters out there, just rip the thing open and thrown it in the pot! (Musical Chef does not take responsibility for fire-eaters' burnt taste buds or hurt feelings after they make it too hot and cry in front of fellow fire-eaters)


Blogger wayfarer said...

Interesting... I just linked you on both my blogs...hope that's okay...

5:27 PM  
Blogger musicalchef said...

Thanks! I need to update some of my links so i'll put yours up then.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Chantale said...

There is this Senegalese resturant here that has some dish with peanut butter (I am not a fan...ALY loves it) I am usually tricked into eating it. Anyway I think Mauritanians have Peanut butter dishes too (they are right next to Senegal)

I like some chinese dishes with PEANUTS but I dont like Peanut BUTTER weird huh... Yeah I know

8:31 AM  
Blogger luckyfatima said...

mmmm me loves peanut buttah like the cookie monster loves cookies.

4:24 AM  
Anonymous Iva said...

i can't find a african recipe.i really need help.Please anyone help me.

11:00 AM  

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