Enjoy a Maafe

Recipe Mafe or Maafe West African meat in peanut sauce closeup in the pan on the table. horizontal
Copyright: lenyvavsha

Maafe, also known as Groundnut Stew or Peanut Stew, is a popular West African dish that originated in Mali but is enjoyed in various countries across the region, including Senegal, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. It is a rich and flavorful stew made with a combination of meat (commonly beef or chicken), vegetables, and a thick sauce made from ground peanuts (peanut butter) or whole peanuts.

The main ingredients of Maafe typically include:

  • Meat: Beef, chicken, lamb, or goat are commonly used in Maafe. The meat is usually cut into chunks or pieces.
  • Vegetables: The stew often contains a variety of vegetables such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, bell peppers, and leafy greens like spinach or kale. The vegetables add texture, flavor, and nutrients to the stew.
  • Peanuts: Ground peanuts or peanut butter are the primary base for the sauce in Maafe. They provide a rich, nutty flavor and give the stew its characteristic creamy and thick consistency. Some variations use whole peanuts, which are cooked and crushed to create the sauce.
  • Spices and Seasonings: Maafe is seasoned with a combination of aromatic spices such as ginger, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and sometimes a hint of chili or hot sauce to add a bit of heat. Stock cubes or bouillon, salt, and pepper are also used to enhance the overall taste.

The preparation of Maafe typically involves the following steps:

  1. Sauté the Meat: In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the meat in a little oil until it is cooked through and well-seared. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables: In the same pot, sauté the onions, garlic, and other vegetables until they are softened and fragrant.
  3. Prepare the Peanut Sauce: Add the ground peanuts or peanut butter to the pot, along with the spices and seasonings. Stir well to combine and coat the vegetables.
  4. Add Liquid: Pour in enough water or broth to create a thick sauce consistency. Stir to incorporate the liquid with the peanut sauce.
  5. Simmer and Cook: Return the browned meat to the pot and bring the stew to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook gently over low to medium heat for about 30 minutes to an hour, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together. Stir occasionally and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Serve: Maafe is traditionally served hot and is often accompanied by a starchy base such as rice, couscous, fonio, or fufu. The thick and creamy sauce of Maafe coats the meat and vegetables, creating a comforting and satisfying dish.

The most informed recipe for a mafe or maafe is best described here.


  • 500g boneless chicken or beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup spinach or kale, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice or couscous for serving


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken or beef to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
  3. In the same pot, add the peanut butter, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, bell pepper, and spinach or kale. Stir well to combine.
  4. Gradually pour in the chicken or vegetable broth while stirring to incorporate the peanut butter and vegetables. Add the ground ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Return the browned meat to the pot and stir it into the mixture. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more salt, pepper, or spices according to your preference.
  7. Serve the maafe hot over cooked rice or couscous. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley, if desired.

Maafe is a delicious and hearty stew that showcases the flavors of West African cuisine, combining the richness of peanuts with the savory meat and vegetables. It is a popular dish enjoyed across the region and offers a wonderful taste of traditional West African flavors.

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