The “Caldo de Mancarra” (Mancarra Stew) is one of the most well-known traditional dishes of Guinea-Bissau cuisine, and the production of the main ingredient that gives the dish its name is very common in this African country, being an essential part of the local agriculture. Curious to know what it is? “Mancarra” is the Guinean name for peanuts.
Originally used by indigenous peoples in South America, peanuts were brought to Guinea-Bissau by Portuguese settlers during colonial times. Once there, this humble legume adapted well to the climate, stimulated the economy, entered the kitchen and became part of the country’s daily life.
During a visit to a restaurant in Lisbon that serves typical dishes from several Portuguese-influenced African countries, I saw the mancarra stew listed on the menu and my curiosity was piqued by the description. The traditional stew is made with chicken, but as we don’t eat this protein (we are pescetarians), I decided to research some recipes and make a version with shrimp. The result was delicious, and we will definitely do it more at home!
So, here’s my recipe. Ready to try it?
Shrimp and Peanut Stew (Mancarra Stew)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil olive oil or peanut oil
- 1 onion large, sliced thinly
- ½ green pepper seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or 1 fresh red chili, sliced (to taste)
- 450 g shrimp (about 1 lb) medium-large size or 31/40 per lb, peeled and deveined
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 150 g peanut butter
- 1 cup shrimp or seafood broth or water
- 2-3 tbsp lime juice to taste
- Season the peeled and cleaned shrimp with salt and set aside in the refrigerator.
- In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion with the green pepper (if using) and pepper flakes until the vegetables are very tender.
- Meanwhile, blend (in the food processor or blender) the tomatoes with the peanut butter and the broth or water until smooth.
- Add the tomato and peanut mixture to the pan, and as soon as it boils and thickens a little, check the seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste, and add the shrimp. Cook until the sauce is creamy and the shrimp is opaque.
- Turn off the heat, add the lime juice, and stir. Serve with rice and sprinkled with crushed roasted peanuts.
- For a low-carb option, serve with cauliflower rice.