This recipe was inspired by three things:
1. Sauce arachide, a spicy peanut-based sauce made with chicken from Côte d'Ivoire, the country where I grew up. On special occasions it is served with a variety of toppings.
2. Mafé, a peanut-based sauce made with beef and carrots from Sénégal, the country where we lived for two years.
Senegalese mafé (photo from insenegal.org)
3. Our vegetarian friends coming for dinner.
In many African countries you may be served a variation of mafé or sauce arachide made without meat, sometimes adding greens in its place. I'm not a big fan of greens (but will happily accept recipe ideas to try) so decided to make a meatless version combining the best of both sauces, the delicious carrots from the mafé and the spiciness and toppings of the sauce arachide.
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small can tomato paste
2-3 cups peanut butter*
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
2-3 tsp Scotch bonnet hot sauce (to taste)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp oil
* If possible, use all-natural peanut butter without added sugar. Otherwose, you can certainly use 'regular' store-bought peanut butter. If you use crunchy, skip the additional peanuts.
These are optional. You don't have to have all of them, but I really recommend the first five or six.
tart apple, chopped
red onion, chopped
green onion, chopped
green pepper, chopped
First, cook the carrots. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Set aside. Do not pour off the water.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent and soft, stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium. Mix in tomato paste, then stir in 2 cups peanut butter. Add seasonings and carrots with the water. Add more water if needed to make a soup consistency. Let simmer on low, uncovered, 10 minutes. Taste and adjust if needed.
If too peanut buttery, add more tomato paste - and v.v.
If not enough flavor, add more ginger and hot sauce, maybe a little salt..
Serve over hot, white rice and add toppings. Get creative! Be sure to have more hot sauce on hand for people who like it with a kick.