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Exploring the Traditional Flavours of Mauritania: Savoury Mafé Stew

Exploring the Traditional Flavours of Mauritania: Savoury Mafé Stew

[[ recipeID=recipe-8lksme7d4, title=Mauritania: Savory Mafé Stew ]]

Mauritania: Savoury Mafé Stew

Mauritania, a country nestled in the northwest of Africa, offers a rich culinary heritage that reflects its cultural diversity and nomadic traditions. Among the cherished dishes of Mauritania, Mafé Stew stands out as a hearty and flavorful delicacy. This traditional recipe, deeply rooted in the country's history, combines tender meat with a rich peanut-based sauce. 

Mafé, also known as "domoda" in some regions, has its origins in West Africa and has become a beloved dish in Mauritania. This savoury stew has been enjoyed for generations and has been adapted to suit local tastes. Traditionally prepared with beef or lamb, Mafé reflects the nomadic lifestyle of the Mauritanian people, where meat plays a significant role in their diet. Over time, Mafé has become a symbol of communal gatherings, family celebrations, and the hospitality of Mauritanian culture.

Now let’s get cooking! 

Servings: 6


  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 0 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins




  • 1 ½ Pounds Beef or Lamb, cut into cubes
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ½ cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Peanut butter (natural, unsweetened)
  • 2 cups Vegetable or Meat Broth
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (optional, for heat)
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Cooked rice or couscous (for serving)


  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, sautéing until they become soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the cubed meat to the pot and cook until it browns on all sides. This step helps seal in the flavors and develop a rich, caramelised exterior.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, and pepper, ensuring the meat is coated with the spices.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, sliced carrots, cubed potatoes, cubed sweet potato, bell pepper, and scotch bonnet pepper (if using) to the pot. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Pour in the vegetable or meat broth, ensuring the ingredients are fully submerged. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the flavours have melded together.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the peanut butter with a ladleful of the hot broth from the stew until it forms a smooth paste. Stir the peanut butter mixture into the pot, ensuring it is well incorporated.
  7. Continue simmering the stew for another 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend and the sauce to thicken.
  8. Once the Mafé Stew is ready, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  9. Serve the Mafé Stew hot, ideally accompanied by cooked rice or couscous. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley for added freshness.
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