Domoda is the national dish of Gambia. It is a delicious “groundnut stew” (peanuts) consisting of whatever vegetable happens to be available, typically pumpkin or sweet potatoes, and a saucy base. Whether vegetarian or including meat, the base is pretty consistent: A rich and flavorful sauce featuring ground peanut paste (or natural, unsweetened peanut butter), fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste. Caramelized onions, chicken and tomato stock, and hot chili peppers are also added. Maggi bouillon cubes are readily available in many parts of Africa and are commonly used in African cooking, including this dish.
Situated in West Africa, Gambia was a British commonwealth until 1965 when it gained independence. The land is relatively more fertile than other parts of Africa and Gambia’s economy is dominated by farming, fishing and tourism. Thus, they’re able to grow things like the pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are common to Gambian cuisine.
Though Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, it’s culture and history are diverse. Some of this history was popularized in the Alex Haley book and TV series “Roots,” parts of which were set in the Gambia.
A very poor country, a third of Gambia’s population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. Vegetarian dishes are common in Gambia because of the expense of meat. Domoda is often eaten without meat as well. But when a Gambian family is able to enjoy a little luxury, they’ll often add chicken or beef to this national dish.
It’s humbling eat something that by our standards is simple and relatively inexpensive, knowing that for other countries, like Gambia, it’s a rare luxury. I’ve made this dish different times with beef and chicken and they’re both delicious. This time I offered it with beef, but chicken can be used interchangeably (the resulting stew will be a little lighter in color).
This All Crocked Up version is true to authentic roots. It’s a simple dish with a rich and rewarding flavor. This is African comfort food at its best, folks, and believe me, it’s a winner!
Ingredients - Servings for 4
1.33 lb beef steak or 1 lb chicken breast, cut into ½ inch chunks
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of green Diced Chili
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ can (3 oz) tomato paste
¾ cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of basil
4 Maggi or Knorr tomato bouillon cubes
3 cups water
Scotch bonnet chilies, diced, according to heat preference
4 cups sweet potato, diced
1/2lbs (4) diced carrots
Salt and pepper to taste