Chicken Mafe

  in Main Dishes, Recipes

slightly adapted from

Chicken Mafe is a West African specialty, a silky blend of peanut butter, tomato, and aromatics like garlic and ginger. Serve with Sweet Potato Corn Muffins.

12 cloves garlic, divided
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, more or less depending on how spicy you like things
2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce 
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
½ pound green cabbage, cut into large chunks
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, large dice
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, large dice
Scotch Bonnet chili slices, to taste (optional)
Rice, for serving

  1. Mince 6 cloves garlic and the ginger with a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and crushed red-pepper flakes. Season chicken generously with salt and rub with the garlic mixture. Marinate for three hours or overnight, refrigerated.
  2. Finely chop the remaining 6 cloves of garlic. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in the fish sauce, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the paste and onions have combined and are a shade darker. Stir in 5 cups water, scraping up any browned bits.
  3. Add the chicken, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. In a mixing bowl, stir 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the peanut butter, a splash at a time, to loosen it. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots and simmer 10 minutes. Add the sweet and yukon gold potatoes and simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the sauce is thick. Add the chili, if using. Taste, add more salt if needed, and serve over rice.