Senegal: Mafe Lamb
We had no idea what to expect going into Senegal week on Food Explorer. We knew we had to do an African country, and Senegal, with French and Moroccan influences on it’s west African cuisine sounded interesting. But overall we knew nothing about the country or it’s cuisine. That’s why we were shocked (happily so) that we had just made one of our favorite dishes yet. Mafe is a unique and completely unexpected combination of flavors. It’s a peanut butter stew with a base of tomato paste and some heat from ginger and scotch bonnet peppers.
Now, to be clear, we did not follow the exact recipe, which calls for stewing the meat in the sauce. It’s summer and we felt like grilling, so we made the sauce and meat separately and brought them together at the end. We also marinated the lamb for a few hours in a puree of onion and ginger, which tenderized it, and then used the marinade in the sauce.
We could have been happy just eating the sauce itself over rice. The peanut butter gave it a flavor that reminded us a little of Satay sauce, but all the other flavors made it unique, rich, and delicious. We highly recommend this dish and we’re looking forward to the rest of the week!
There are many recipes for Mafe with variations of ingredients but we generally followed this one.