Monday, March 23, 2015

Peanutty Paradise

I love being in college and being able to meet so many diverse people from different backgrounds, nations, and ethnicities. In addition to being super cool to learn about the culture of people from all over the world, it gives me a great source for researching my countries. What is a better way to find out what people eat in Guinea than by asking someone who lived there? Luckily, my friend Luke grew up as a missionary kid in the Republic of Guinea, so he was able to share some insight into the traditional cuisine served in this West African country. The 24 ethnic groups that make up Guinea speak over 40 ethnic groups and are mostly Islamic. There is a small percent (8 and 7 respectively) that are Christians or practice traditionally religions. The current Ebola epidemic started out last year in Guinea, and has spread to be an international crisis. All of Western Africa needs continuous prayer so that this horrific crisis can finally come to an end. The consumption of bats is one cause that leads to this horrendous disease. I can't imagine eating a bat, so I was very glad to find other delicious options to choose from when I cooked Guinea. My friend Luke suggested a dish called mafe tiga, so I went with his advice.

Mafe is a West African peanut stew/ sauce that The Guinean people love their rice, so I decided to go with it as a base for my stew. You can also serve mafe over other starches common to the area like cassava. Mafe originated in Mali, and now is consumed widespread throughout this region of Africa. I know why! The stuff is delicious!


Mafé Tiga
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 habanero chili, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
dash of cayenne pepper powder
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter (preferably sugar free)
salt and pepper, to taste               
rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and habanero. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir it constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Now pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper powder. Mix this all together, cover, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then stir in the peanut butter. Continue to simmer the sauce for an hour, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Add them to the sauce and cook for another 45 minutes, continuing to stir every so often. Serve over rice.

I know I say this a lot, but this meal was one of my favorites. I love African food, I love everything peanut butter, anything with sautéed onions is automatically top of my list, and chicken is my favorite meat. Putting all these things together surely created one amazing dish. I would be okay with making mafe tiga tomorrow night for dinner. And the next night. And the night after that. Thursday night sounds good too, and why not Friday as well? Yeah, I'd be fine with having this every night for the rest of my life!

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