Monday, July 27, 2009


Fumbwa Elambani Na Mafuta Ya Nguba
Peanut Butter Spinach

I made this dish on Monday, July 27th for Andy and me. I found this recipe on the blog page of another person who is attempting to cook meals from all of the countries. She raved about the recipe, so I was excited to give it a try.

The authenticity of this recipe was ruined when I couldn't find red palm oil. I tried both Whole Foods and Kowalski's and neither had it. Had I given myself more time to shop, I could have gone to an African market, of which there are several in the twin cities area. So, really, I was missing the one ingredient that made this dish foreign.

At first glance, this looked like a very simple recipe, but the sauce would not thicken. I tried to add more peanut butter, and that did not work. Thinking that maybe the sauce would thicken if I simmered it longer, I ended up overcooking the spinach, and the sauce never thickened. I ended up having to strain the mixture because the sauce was so watery. Perhaps it would have been better had I not used Light Skippy peanut butter. A natural, less processed peanut butter may have created a sauce that was actually thick. Regardless, I was left with a mushy, watery spinach slop. It didn't taste bad, it just was too watery, and thus really bland.

The weirdest thing about this whole recipe was that there was a single spinach leaf that remained bright green and did not get overcooked. I don't get it.

Some considerations if you want to try this:
-I might try 2 cups of water instead of 4.
-Also, I would reduce/thicken the sauce before adding the spinach, as spinach wilts very quickly and is not good overcooked.

Here is the recipe as I made it, modified from the original:

Angolan Fumbwa Elambani Na Mafuta Ya Nguba

-1 lb. fresh spinach
-1 c. chopped tomato
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 T. peanut butter
-4 c. water

1) Boil the water.
2) Add spinach, tomato, onion and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat until spinach wilts and water and peanut butter form a thickish sauce.

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