As mentioned a while back on the Guludo FB page, Matapa, is a typical Mozambiquan dish made from the leaves of the cassava, bean or mandioca plant. The leaves are cooked down with tomatoes, spices and peanuts. The bitter, hardy leaves need a good preliminary boil to break down the bitterness before being cooked with the spices and other ingredients.
This spicy and very filling dish is made in many deferent ways all across Mozambique but this is how we do it at Guludo. You probably won’t be able to get cassava or bean leaves in the UK but savoy cabbage would work, as would chard and proper chunky spinach. Use any deep green, gnarly looking leaves that need a bit of boiling.
MATAPA - serves 4
Large bunch of chosen leaves ideally cassava or bean approximately 300g
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 sliced onion
1/2 can of tomatoes
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 red hot chilli or 1/2 a table spoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder
100g of unsalted peanuts, blitzed or pounded into crumbs.
Boil the leaves in unsalted water until they breakdown and loose any bitterness. Boiling to oblivion is OK is this instance, some leaves take up to 40 minutes. If using cabbage or chard, 15 minutes should be ample . Drain and let as much water evaporate as possible. Fry the onion in vegetable oil, when translucent add the curry powder, chilli and garlic. When fragrant add the tomato paste and allow the flavous to meld, then add the fresh tomatoes and leaves, mix well. Finally add the peanuts, let stand without mixing for 5 minutes.
Peanuts make all the difference here, lots is never enough. They give it a deeply savoury hit and an umami flurry. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes adding more water if it gets too dry. The matapa should be thick and almost sticky when ready. Season with lots of salt and pepper and serve with basmati or chapatis. Bom.