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Angola’s Muamba de Galinha

October 31, 2009

Every province of Angola has a version of Muamba de Galinha. I chose a recipe that uses roasted chicken and squash because it brings a real depth of flavor to this dish. This recipe gave me an opportunity to use grains of paradise for the first time. Wow. Like nothing I’ve ever tasted. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article, written by Amanda Hesser, about these powerful little seeds:

“I put a few between my teeth and crunched. They cracked like coriander releasing a billowing aroma, and then a slowly intensifying heat, like pepper at the back of my mouth. The taste changes in a second. The heat lingered. But the spice flavor was pleasantly tempered, ripe with flavors reminiscent of jasmine, hazelnut, butter and citrus, and with the kind of oiliness you get from nuts. They were entirely different from black peppercorns and in my mind, incomparably better.”

You can buy grains of paradise online at Surfas and The Spice House.

Got to confess, right now. Like many African dishes, this called for red palm oil. I really, really, um, really dislike the taste of palm oil. Thanks to the Portuguese (again), olive oil is used in Angolan cooking, so, I chose to use that, instead. I need to challenge myself on palm oil, if I’m going to make authentic West African dishes.

You can buy red palm oil and many ingredients for African recipes at Shield and Spear. You’ll find a link for amazing recipes from Chef Bathie. You can watch Chef Bathie making a Senegalese street food called Akara on a TV show called Food Safari.

Remember, when working with hot peppers, please use gloves and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes. You can use your favorite chili pepper in this dish. I used cayenne peppers.

Angolan Chicken


Serves 6 – 8


1 2 lb. chicken, cut up and roasted
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth, homemade preferable*
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cayenne peppers, seeded and sliced
1 delicata squash, roasted whole then cut into bite-size pieces
3 tomatoes, quartered
1/4 teaspoon grains of paradise
fresh salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 dried bay leaf

*If you decide to use canned broth, opt for low sodium but homemade is so much better tasting. I would actually prefer to use plain water than canned broth. Compensate with a little extra onion, garlic, and pepper, if you go the plain water route.


My roasted chicken recipe:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (don’t use a nonstick pan) and cook the chicken pieces on the stove top until they are golden brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet. Place in the oven and roast until the juices run clear when pricked with a knife. Cooking time varies by chicken size, of course. For a 2-lb chicken it should be about 50 minutes with the rack in the lowest part of the oven.

To roast the squash:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prick the squash three or four times with a sharp knife. Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and roast for about an hour or until tender. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a Dutch Oven or large pot. While heating gently, add the minced garlic and sliced onions. Cook until translucent. Add the chicken, broth, tomatoes, peppers, squash, bay leaf, grains of paradise, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and eat. This dish is very flavorful and is even more so the next day.

Serve with rice.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2009 11:25 am

    Wine pairing: I had a Soave open at the time we were eating this, and it just happened to fit perfectly. The one we had was De Valier Soave, really amazing match for this dish. The nutty flavor mated well with the flavor of grains of paradise, and the acidity was right on target.

  2. November 2, 2009 9:47 am

    Just catching up today. All this looks pretty fabulous. J likes the hot stuff.

  3. November 15, 2009 6:47 am

    Listen this angolan online radio station:

    Big Up!

    • November 16, 2009 2:27 am

      Thank you, Mangole for dropping by I Cook the World. The Angolan recipes I cooked were some of the tastiest I’ve made. Would love more. I’ve been listening to a station broadcasting from Luanda. Love the music. Will listen to your station, as well. If you drop by again, tell us something about the current Angolan music scene.


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