Mafé, Senegalese Peanut Stew

Mafé, is a Senegalese Peanut stew that is found all over West Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. It is a stew with meat, root vegetables and ground peanuts
Mafe Stew
Mafe, Senegalese Peanut Stew

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Mafé, is a Senegalese Peanut stew that is found all over West Africa and Sub Saharan Africa and is one of the many variations of the Groundnut/Peanut Stew of West Africa.

Believed to be the traditional food of the Wolof and Bambara people of Senegal and Mali, it is a stew with meat, root vegetables and ground peanuts or peanut paste (peanut butter).

I was introduced to Mafé by a friend on the old Google+ sometime in 2013. I spent a lot of time talking to people about it and looking the recipe up. There were many different thoughts and ideas about what makes a good Mafé.

When I first posted this recipe in 2013, there were hardly any around online. So there wasn’t much to be gleaned from that source. Because you know, it’s always the history and background of a recipe that I’m interested in more than the recipe itself.

Mafé Recipe

There was talk about fish sauce, I remember. And given the popularity of Thai food, everyone (including the Africans) just assumed it was the South East Asian fish sauce.

But I wasn’t happy with that, to me, it just didn’t make sense, even if Maggie seasoning is a very common East & West African ingredient.

After months of chatting to virtual strangers (Google+ was amazing!), I was finally confident enough to put together a recipe.

One of the guys, Adama, went an extra mile. He consulted his grandma, and she solved the problem of the fish sauce. Apparently, it refers to hot sauce, like Frank’s hot sauce or just regular tabasco. Basically something hot with a marked vinegary flavour.

So this recipe is a product of all those discussions I had with those folks.

The traditional Mafé would use a lot more ground peanuts or peanut butter than I have here. Despite being a peanut butter lover, I balked at the thought of all that peanut butter in my stew, so reduced it to just 4 tablespoons.

The taste is simply amazing, nutty, creamy and spicy. There is quite a lot of chilli in here; it’s meant to be fairly spicy, given the scotch bonnet. I use a combination of a fresh habañero (scotch bonnet), hot sauce and chilli flakes for an all rounded flavour.

How to Serve Mafé

In West Africa, Mafé is quite often served with fonio, a grain commonly cultivated and consumed there. We can’t get fonio here, so I tend to have it with couscous or rice.

Is Mafé very spicy?

Yes, it is!

The amount of chilli given here will produce a pretty hot stew. If you’re not keen on the heat, exchange the Scotch Bonnet for an ordinary red chilli, like a jalapeño. I am using beef in this recipe, however, any meat will do.

Vegetarian Mafé

Vegetarians, substitute the meat with all manner of root vegetables, beans and stew friendly vegetables, like:

  • courgettes (zucchinis)
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • any beans

Don’t forget to chop the vegetables to roughly about the same size, I like to go for an about an inch. This will make for  more uniform dish and easier eating.

Don’t be put off by the long-ish list of ingredients, it’s all about assembling it together, then it’s child’s play.

Now, let’s get our aprons on!

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Mafé, Senegalese Peanut Stew

Mafé, is a Senegalese Peanut stew that is found all over West Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. It is a stew with meat, root vegetables and ground peanuts
5 from 24 votes
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Course: Main Course, Main Course with Bread or Couscous
Cuisine: West African
Keyword: stew
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Calories: 284kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Ingredients

  • 500 g lean minced beef
  • 500 ml beef or chicken stock (homemade or good shop bought)
  • 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium sized onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced width wise
  • 1 habanero/scotch bonnet halved
  • 1 small can of chopped tomatoes 200g
  • 3 Tbsp tomato puree/paste
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes chopped
  • 1 large aubergine eggplant, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum bell pepper) chopped
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce any brand, the sort that has a vinegary tang
  • 4 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • dash of chilli flakes
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • juice of ½ a lemon / 1 tsp clear vinegar

Instructions

  • Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add garlic, cook for a minute.
  • Add the meat and brown all over, for about 10 minutes, breaking it up as you go along.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, and cook on a simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add everything else in, stir well, cover and cook for another 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through, just a little on the soft side. Check seasoning and adjust if need be.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 842mg | Potassium: 984mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1978IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 4mg

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11 thoughts on “Mafé, Senegalese Peanut Stew”

    1. Hi Lou, where do you see 1000 ml? I see 500 ml in the recipe card, which, as you say, is 2 cups. Let me know if I’ve written it differently elsewhere, I can’t see it.

  1. This month I am going on vacation for a week to the Berkshires and around here, in Massachusetts, it is called the Snow Bowl. My friends children like to ski and snowboard and are hopin for LOTS of sbow. This recipe sounds amazing! She and I love habanero but her husband and kids (teenagers) like a bit milder. Perhaps we will go with red chili’s or jalapenos. Would that be acceptable?
    You used ground beef and someone else mentioned chicken. Ground chicken? I plan to double this as there will be 12 of us…should I triple it? Are there other vegetables I could also add? We love everything you mentioned so far. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim, while not wholly traditional, you can also use ground (minced) chicken for this, as well as ground turkey. there is also no reason why you can’t use small diced chicken either. Naturally, the texture and flavour will be different than when you are using minced beef, but it will still be delicious.
      Any mild red chilies will work for this recipe. I tend to make half of it with jalapeños and the other half with a scotch bonnet/habañero.
      Carrots and zucchinis will go well in this, but the carrots need to be cooked well, so they will be soft and blend it with the rest of the ingredients. You can add them in with the potatoes.
      Tripling the recipe is perfect, you may have extra, given that you have kids who may not eat as much.

  2. I love mafe and make it on occasion, not as much as I would like as my kids prefer their PB on bread! I always make mine with chicken but minced beef sounds good and quick!

    Nazneen

  3. I discovered Mafe’ a couple of years ago through Cook Around The Globe and what a discovery that was. I had never added peanut butter to a savory dish and was quite surprised at the outcome. My mafe’ was a different version from yours. Now I need to try yours. It looks hearty and delicious! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you MJ, must do a search on your blog if you have it! Isn’t it just amazing, I guess it’s like the satay sauce with the peanut butter!

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