Fatima opened a cupboard full of Angolan ingredients, some familiar others not so; tinned tomatoes, a plump bag of semolina, plaintain which are large fruit from the banana family, bags of what look like dried herbs (fumbua), jars of peanut butter, tins of pilchards, maggi (stock cubes) and, out of the freezer, pieces of fish.
She runs through some everyday Angolan recipes; Madesu – beans, poisson fumer (smoked fish) with aubergine and onions (pondu or vegetables) but quickly comes back to fumbua and peanut butter – the favourite food in my country.
Peanut butter is an easily available substitute for groundnut paste, which is used, extensively in Angolan sauces. Fumbua is a leaf vegetable that grows wild. At home Fatima would have gone out to the forest, cut leaves and dried them in the sun. Here it comes already dried, in large plastic bags.
- 3 or 4 fresh tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ jar of peanut butter
- Maggi (African stock cubes)
- Vegetable oil or palm oil
Soak the fumbua for 30 minutes in cold water. Meanwhile put some vegetable oil or a small amount of palm oil into a saucepan. Chop the tomatoes and onion and add to the pan with the bay leaves and half a jar of peanut butter.
Drain the fumbua and place it in the pan with 1 litre water and the maggi. Simmer for between 35 minutes and an hour depending on quantities used.
Slice the plaintain as you would a banana and fry the ‘discs’ in vegetable oil. These taste like sweet chips.