Because refrigeration is not widespread in rural Uganda, chilled foods like salads are not part of the normal diet. Additionally, people are used to cooking all their foods to eliminate bacteria that could cause illness. Eggplant, cabbage, spinach, kale and pumpkin are all part of dinner when these vegetables are in season, and cooks typically boil them and incorporate them into sauces or soups. Steamed pumpkin wedges are a favorite.
Fish is usually plentiful in regions near Lake Victoria and the Nile River, but it can be expensive. Simple preparation with tomatoes and onions makes a delicious fresh fish dinner that many Ugandans enjoy. Smoked fish is also available, and good cooks use it to flavor the water for peanut sauce. See the recipe below.
Ingredients for Ugandan Peanut Sauce:
8 oz. unsalted peanuts or 1 cup peanut butter
2-3 cups water from boiling smoked fish
1 coarsely chopped, fresh tomato
1 peeled, coarsely chopped, medium onion
½ teaspoon paprika
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
- Blend the peanuts, if used, for 1 minute in a food processor. Scrape the sides of the container, add 2 T water and blend for one more minute.
- Pour 2 cups of the water into a large pan. Add the tomato and onion, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add ground peanuts or peanut butter and heat, stirring often. Do not boil.
- Blend the sauce with an immersion blender to make it smooth. Add water if necessary to reach a good consistency. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with posho, millet, sweet potatoes or rice.