Matapa! – Guest Post by Val

Hey! Long time, no post! I might have taken a little hiatus due to some crazy work schedules. But I’m back and with a bang with Guest Post #2 by Val Cooper, a friend of mine living in Mozambique who’s in the Peace Corp!

She’s an amazing writer and excellent cook! Here she is sharing just one of the fun experiences she’s had while living in Mozambique. Check out her blog for more: Tudo Bem!


Ola! I’d like to share with you one of my favorite dishes from Mozambique, where I’ve been living since 2009 – matapa! Although it’s considered poor man’s food because it costs practically nothing to make, it’s one of the most unique and delicious (as well as time-consuming) dishes I’ve experienced. If you don’t have all the traditional tools lying around your kitching, don’t fret – you can always just use a food processor or buy it already prepared from the grocery store. Bom apetite!




  • 1 kilo cassava leaves (can be substituted with kale or pumpkin leaves)
  • 1 coconut
  • ½ kilo roasted peanuts
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 onions, diced
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 250 ml cold water


Wash cassava leaves. Using a pilão and pau (giant mortar and pestle), pound peanuts to a fine powder. Use a paneira to shift out larger chunks. If a pilão isn’t available, a food processor will work.

Clean out pilão and then use to pound cassava leaves until a thick, slimy consistency.

In pot, mix mashed cassava leaves, garlic, water, diced tomatoes and onions. Let cook over charcoal.

Break the coconut in half using a machete or against concrete. No need to keep the milk.

Sitting on the ralador, grate the meat against the spiked end into a large bowl until the coconut is empty. If ralador is unavailble, you can probably purchased a packet of grated coconut. *Note: women must sit side-saddle and never straddle the ralador.

Simultaneously pour the boiling and cold water into the bowl of grated coconut. When cool enough to touch, repeatedly squeeze the grated coconut with hands to get all juice out.

Strain coconut water into cooking pot of cassava leaves and vegetables. Then add peanut flour.
Let cook over charcoal until a thick green paste. Serve over rice or xima (grits).

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