Moambe, also called Poulet Moambe, Nyembwe Chicken or Muamba de Galinha, is a simple African dish of chicken smothered in tomato and peanut sauce. It is very easy to prepare and is popular in both the Congos (Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo) where it is the national dish, as well as Gabon, Angola and Central African Republic.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The two Congos are neighbors, and while they somehow have the same names, people have a different name for them. Democratic Republic of Congo is known as Congo-Kinshasa, while Republic of Congo is often called Congo-Brazzaville.
The two share a lot of history and culture together. They have the same language, natural resources and a similar cuisine.
This is the reason they also share the same national dish, moambe chicken. As mentioned, Moambe is a fairly easy dish to prepare with only a few ingredients.
Gabon also has a similar version of the dish which is its national dish, called Poulet Nyembwe. Both ‘Moambe’ and ‘Nyembwe’ mean palm butter. Red palm butter is made from the fruit of the African oil palm, which is why this recipe contains red palm oil.
First, the chicken pieces are towel-dried before searing. Heat oil over medium-high heat then sear the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden brown. Once the chicken pieces are done, take them out of the heat and set aside. Lower the heat, add more oil to the pot, then saute your onions and garlic.
After that, add the tomato paste and stir it constantly for 3 minutes. When the paste becomes darker, add in the rest of the ingredients except the peanut butter.
Add in the chicken and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Once it simmers, pull a cup of the sauce and mix the peanut butter.
Put the sauce back and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve the moambe hot on top of a bed of rice.
- Chicken parts - 3 lbs
- Medium onions, diced - 2
- Garlic, pressed - 3 cloves
- Tomato paste - 1 can/ 170 g
- Tomato puree - 1 can
- Ginger root, grated - 1tbsp
- Natural peanut butter - ½ cup or 125 g
- Green onions, chopped - 3
- Red pepper flakes - 1 tsp
- Nutmeg, ground - ¼ tsp
- Water - 1 cup
- Red palm oil or peanut oil - 6 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Wash the chicken first and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat 4 tbps of peanut oil or palm oil in a large pot over high heat.
- Sear the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, in batches if needed, until golden brown in colour. Once done, remove the chicken and set them aside.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low, then add the remaining oil. Saute first the onions until golden brown, then add garlic until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste while constantly stirring for 3 minutes. Let the paste darken slightly then add tomato puree, ginger root, green onions, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, water and salt into the pot.
- Mix all the ingredients well until nicely incorporated. Then add the chicken into the pot and mix again.
- Turn the heat high and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, pull out 1 or 2 cups of the sauce and add the peanut butter. Mix it thoroughly and return the sauce back to the pot, mixing it well.
- Simmer the moambe again for 10 minutes, uncovered. Serve it hot on top of rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1137Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 320mgSodium: 588mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 10gSugar: 19gProtein: 95g
Photo credit: Zaireine