A Recipe for Matapa

After consulting with several on-line cookbooks, an article entitled Hungry for Adventure in Gourmet Magazine and my own memory I created a rough recipe for Matapa (also spelled Mathapa), my favorite Mozambican dish. In Mozambique you use young cassava (my preference) or pumpkin leaves. Here I’ve substituted collard greens. You might also try it with spinach. This dish can be served over white rice, coconut rice or xima, a thick maize porridge which is somewhat similar in consistency to polenta, but made with white corn flour. If you prefer vegetarian, leave out the shrimp. It will still be tasty.



2 bunches collards

28 ounces unsweetened coconut milk

1 pound raw peanuts

garlic, chopped fine

salt to taste

1 pound small shrimp, shelled and deveined (reserve shells)

  • Place the shrimp shells in a pot of cold water and boil for 5 minutes. Strain and save liquid.
  • Wash the collards; remove the tough stems and cut into small pieces. Purée collards in a food processor. Traditionally this is done with a large mortar and pestle.  Cook the collards in 2 cups of shrimp water with 1 can coconut milk over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Cook the shrimp for five minute in boiling water. Strain and save liquid.
  • Grind the peanuts in the food processor until they resemble powder. Place the peanuts in a saucepan with 2 cups of shrimp water and 1 can coconut milk over medium heat. When it begins to boil, pour the mixture over the greens. Add the garlic, salt, and shrimp; stir; reduce the heat and simmer for 1½ hours. Serve over rice.

Variations include serving with piri-piri, and adding tomatoes, onions, shaved green papaya or cassava flour during the final simmer


Fresh Piri-piri peppers, chopped fine

(in the US try small Thai Hot or Habanero Peppers. I’ve also used dried red pepper flakes)

Garlic, chopped fine

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Parsley, chopped fine (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and let sit for one day before serving. For basting chicken, substitute coconut milk for the lemon juice.


Filed under Mozambique 2009, Recipes

6 responses to “A Recipe for Matapa

  1. It’s also my favourite Mozambican dish and googling its recipe brought me to your website. Really nice recipe and clearly set out. Thanks.

  2. I just came back from Mozambique. My son works with ADPP. Their kitchen makes this dish on a daily basis from greens in their garden. Absolutely the best with piri piri over rice!

    • Kathryn

      So glad you had a chance to try Matapa in Mozambique! These days I can find frozen young cassava leaves in an Asian specialty grocery store and African Bird’s Eye Pepper, the correct pepper to use for piri piri, in larger grocery stores in the regular spice section. Hope you are able to recreate it at home.

  3. Pingback: Mozambique Cuisine: Matapa - delicious green stew with shrimp and peanuts! - Explorers Kitchen

  4. Laura

    When I lived in Mozambique we made many variations of matapa, though never with seafood. My favorite is made with sweet potato leaves. We also added onions, tomatoes and a chicken stock packet.

  5. My fiance is from Mozambique and I’m moving there in April. Matapa is my favourite dish and I can’t wait to eat it all the time soon 😀
    For now, thank you for youre recipe. I’ll try it out tonight!!

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