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West African Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Mafe)
with root vegetables / couscous

Active: 40 minTotal: 40 min
20160111 west african peanut chicken nm 4.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

While we often think of peanut sauce in Asian dishes, it makes a creamy, flavorful base for a popular West African dish called mafe. Most recently featured in 2016, this comforting stew of chicken and vegetables is flavored with garlic and ginger to complement the rich sauce.


West African Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Mafe):
  • Peanuts, roasted and unsalted (opt) - 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Sweet potatoes - 3/4 lb, peeled and chopped
  • Turnips, small - 2, peeled and chopped (sub carrots)
  • Bell peppers, red - 1/2, chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
  • Ginger, fresh - 2 tsp, grated
  • Peanut butter, creamy - 1/2 cup
  • Tomato paste - 2 Tbsp
  • Stock, any type - 2 cups
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
  • Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless - 1 lbs, chopped
  • Cilantro - 3 Tbsp, chopped
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Limes - 1/2, juice of
Couscous (for 2 nights):
  • Butter - 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Couscous, uncooked - 1 1/3 cups
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Couscous - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Combine butter and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Cover pan and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  2. Peanuts - If using, roughly chop peanuts. One easy way to do this is by sealing nuts into a Ziploc bag. Then run a rolling pin over them a few times or lightly smash with a tenderizer. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Potatoes / Turnips / Bell peppers / Garlic / Ginger - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  4. Peanut sauce - Whisk together peanut butter, tomato paste, stock, ginger, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  5. Chicken - Chop into bite-sized pieces, season with some salt and pepper and tenderize with a fork.
  6. Cilantro - Chop cilantro.


  1. Place sweet potatoes and turnips into a microwave-safe pan or bowl. Cover with wet paper towel and microwave on high until sweet potatoes are tender, ~3 minutes. (Turnips should still have a bit of crunch.) Season lightly with some salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat and add first part of cooking oil. When oil is hot, sear chicken until golden brown on all sides, ~4 minutes total (it may not be cooked all the way through, but will finish in the sauce). Remove from pan and set aside. Return the pan to the burner and reduce heat to medium.
  3. To hot pan, add second part of oil, garlic, and bell peppers. Saute until garlic is fragrant, ~1 minute.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, turnips, and peanut sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer until sauce reduces slightly, ~3 minutes.
  5. Return chicken to pan, spooning sauce over the top. Continue to simmer (don’t let it boil or the chicken will turn tough) until chicken is cooked through, ~4 minutes more. Season with some salt and pepper.
  6. Top with lime juice, cilantro, and chopped peanuts.
  7. Reheat couscous briefly in the microwave (reserve half for Wednesday). If it seems dry, fold in a splash of stock or water.
  8. Spoon chicken, vegetables, and sauce over couscous and enjoy!

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This meal has 34 reviews

It was a little stodgy- but fresh squeezed lime and lots of cilantro really helped.

By: Jennifer
Posted: Dec 09, 2018
Diet: Gluten-free

I used carrots and parsnips instead of turnip. I really liked this dish. The vegetables do need to cook a little longer, but they can just cook longer on the stove/in the sauce.

By: Judith
Posted: Dec 04, 2018
Diet: Vegetarian

Definitely took longer to cook (especially the microwaved sweet potatoes), and felt like it took a lot of prep time. Once made, it was yummy and filling! Liked the strong ginger flavor. I would add greens in the future -- chard or something along those lines.

By: Caroline
Posted: Dec 03, 2018
Diet: Vegetarian

I used carrots instead of turnips, and made this in the Instant Pot so I could skip the microwaving step - I reduced the stock a bit since the sauce wouldn't reduce. Overall, this was pretty tasty and relatively quick!

By: Melissa
Posted: Nov 28, 2018
Diet: Original

Perfect flavors, subbed Pumpkin for turnip, a perfect fall dish.

By: Brita
Posted: Nov 27, 2018
Diet: Paleo

Love this. I used carrots instead of turnips, but otherwise followed the recipe. So good. Sweet and savory and spicy.

By: Chelsea
Posted: Nov 27, 2018
Diet: Vegetarian