Luwombo can be made with several different kinds of meats – pork and beef are often used. However, in Uganda, chicken luwombo is the most traditional. Peanuts and smoked fish are also traditional ingredients. Superbly spiced and seasoned, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed – Ugandan chicken luwombo is a delightful African ethnic food treat!
Ugandan Chicken Luwombo Recipe-
- 2 lb. chicken pieces, thighs, legs and wings. (if you use large breasts, cut them into smaller chunks)
- 1 lb. smoked fish, chopped into large, bite-sized chunks
- 1 cup finely ground, unsalted peanuts
- 2 medium-sized white or yellow onions, peeled, halved, and then crosscut into slices
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 4 tomatoes, blancked, peeled, and rough chopped
- 1 chicken stock cube, crushed
- banana leaves (or you can also use tin foil, but if you want the real authentic flavor, banana leaves are a must)
- 3 plantains, peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- kitchen twine
- palm oil
- In a skillet over medium-high flame, heat a small amount of palm oil. Brown the meat, working in batches if necessary. Once browned all over (but not yet cooked all the way through), remove from the skillet and set aside for now.
- Into the same skillet, with the heat reduced to medium, add in a couple more tablespoons of oil. Add in the onion slices and sauté just long enough to caramelize them – 8 to 10 minutes should do it.
- Next, add and stir in the mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Now, add and stir in the crushed chicken stock cube, tomatoes, smoked fish, peanuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Check to see how much liquid there is in the skillet – if necessary, add a little water. You want to have a nice, smooth sauce. Adjust the heat to just a lively simmer, and cook long enough to reduce your liquid into a well incorporated, thick sauce.
- Heat up a large pot of water to a boil, and then plunge the banana leaves into the water. This will soften them. Once nice and pliable, carefully remove them from the pot, and allow to cool long enough to handle. Remove the main central “rib” and cut the ends off the leaves to form rectangles. (Note: If you buy packaged banana leaves, most of the time they will have already removed the mid rib for you. Sometimes they come already squared up for you, like the banana leaves you can buy at our Amazon store)
- Place a portion of meat, some of the tomato-onion sauce, some smoked fish, and several chunks of plantain in the center of a leaf.
- Fold the leaf sides and ends up together over the ingredients. Lay out flat another leaf, and place the first folded leaf containing the cooking ingredients onto the second leaf – make sure the folded ends are placed down. Then wrap up the second leaf in the same way to create at least a double layer (I even add a third layer, just to be safe).
- Tie the package up tight with oven-proof kitchen twine. Repeat this process until all the cooking mixture is used up.
- In the bottom of a large casserole dish or Dutch oven, place a wire rack or trivet. Add water into the bottom of the dish or oven. Place the luwombo packages on top of the rack and place the lid on tightly.
- Bring the water to a boil and steam the packets for one full hour.
- After one hour, remove the packets from the pot. Carefully cut away the twine. To serve your Ugandan Chicken Luwombo, place a packet on each serving place, and carefuly unwrap the leaves, exposing a delicious meal!
Note: for many more delicious, traditional and authentic dishes from Africa, click here.
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