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Muamba De Galinha – Angola National Dish – Day 9/Dish 5

January 15, 2010

I am absolutely stuffed from eating that hearty Escudella!  Perhaps a little travel is in order? 

Setting out from the Spanish/French Seaside, we must travel west past Gibraltar and out of the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic. From here we head south along the African coastline and hundreds of years of troubled history.  As we make our way south I think of the days of slavery and the ships loaded with human merchandise setting sail for the Americas.  Slaving ports left over from the past still speckle the western shoreline of the Dark Continent.  Blood and sadness stain Western Africa and have divided much of its once proud tribal heritage.  It is difficult to view and yet hard to avoid seeing.  Perhaps we are not meant to forget?

Angola, home of our next dish, is an example of such a place.  Angola became independent in 1975 after centuries of Portuguese control.  During their rule, slaves from Angola travelled shackled and hopeless to plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands as the world’s demand for agricultural products grew.  I wonder if this iniquity changed the flavor of the sugarcane they harvested, somehow making it less sweet? 

The national dish of Angola is another stew known as Muamba De Galinha.  This dish is also the national dish of other neighboring countries such as The Democratic Republic of Congo and nearby Gabon and is made in one form or another throughout the region.  It is a classic example of traditional local produce influencing the tastes of a nation or people.  When roughly translated it means “chicken stew with palm oil sauce”.  This dish can be prepared spicy or left mild.

Since this dish is also the national dish of the DRC and Gabon, we will cook it only one time and offer a recap of the other countries geography on their respective days.  It is also challenging to find some of the base ingredients for this dish.  It is possible to substitute Palm Oil with Peanut or other Groundnut Oil with 1 tbsp of paprika added to the oil (this is the standard substitution recommended).  I was able to find the Palm Nut Oil but decided to sub Coconut Cream for the Palm Soup Base(same thing???)

I rate Muamba De Galinha a 3 for difficulty, partially because it is hard to find ingredients and partly because of my inexperience when utilizing these ingredients.  Other than that, it is not particularly difficult to make and with the exception of some vagueness in cooking temperatures in the recipe I used(which I have corrected in my recipe) it was straightforward.  I served it with Cumin and Cardamom scented rice.

Although I admit that I was hesitant to eat this while it was cooking due to the unique aroma of the Palm Oil, as I added other ingredients and the soup came together I changed my mind.  In the end it was very savory and sweet.  The squash was a nice touch.  Make sure to carefully season with salt as it may be too sweet without proper seasoning. 


Muamba De Galinha – Angola National Dish – Day 9/Dish 5


Appearance:  4 out of 5

Aroma: 3 out of 5

Taste:  3 out of 5


1 Chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces

Juice of 1 Lemon

250ml (about 1 cup) Palm Oil (or groundnut oil with 2 tsp Paprika)

3 medium Onions, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Scotch Bonnet or other Chili Pepper de-seeded and chopped or left whole if you prefer milder

3 Tomatoes, quartered

1 Squash (eg Butternut) or Sweet Pumpkin de-seeded, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces.

250ml canned Palm Soup Base (‘Sauce Graine’ or ‘Noix De Palme’) or homemade Nyembe Sauce (this can be omitted)

15 small, tender, Okra washed and ‘topped and tailed’ or sliced into coins

Salt, to taste


Squeeze the Lemon juice over the Chicken and allow it to marinate for about an hour.

Add the Palm Oil to a deep frying pan and heat on medium-high heat.

A splash guard is recommended (IKEA $3.99) for covering the pan since this oil really pops and sputters and is a intense red orange that will stain.


Place the Chicken in the pan and brown on all sides then add the Onion, Garlic, Chili and Tomato.

Stirring occasionally, simmer over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes then add the Squash and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove the Chicken from the pan and place on platter.

 Add the canned Palm Soup Base and the Okra stirring well to incorporate the soup base.

Add Chicken back to pot.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the Okra is tender.

Season and serve with Rice or a Maize Fufu.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. B. Lewis permalink
    March 18, 2011 5:09 pm

    Correction, the Portuguese did not control Angola for centuries. The reason for that, Angola was occupied by powerful states, with centers of power, not just proud “tribal people.” For a long time the Portuguese occupied the coast of Angola. Their control of the entire region of Angola was less than a 100 years.

    • April 7, 2011 7:54 pm

      My apologies for not replying sooner. I appreciate the update to my fact finding. I am very lucky to have people reading here that are in search of truth. Please come again…

  2. Mauri permalink
    May 1, 2011 11:41 am

    Hello Eric,

    I have accidently came acorss your Blog, and wanted to kindly ask you first if you would allow me to use your picture of the Angolan dish – Muamba De Galinha, for a food project of mine, I would of course if the picture were ever to be used commercially mention you as to were the picture came from before hand.

    Kind regards, and hope to hear from you soon
    Ps/ I am very impressed on your knowledge of food, as food is now a major hobby come desire for me now.

    ciao ciao,


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