Growing up in Uganda meant being blessed to be surrounded by the one-of-a-kind and beautiful culture of the Pearl of Africa. Amidst the beating drum of Uganda’s heart, I fell so deeply in love with the diverse local cuisine so much that my mum had to learn all the many recipes that I couldn’t get enough of. This is the first one I am sharing with you, mainly because not only is it one of the most commonly eaten ones in Uganda, but also my personal favourite. While the picture above shows the Binyebwa sauce served with mashed Matoke (boiled plantain), the sauce itself can be served with many other options including Ugali/Posho, rice, cassava leaves, etc.
The powdered groundnut sauce can be purchased anywhere locally, I used to get mine from a nearby local market — either as dry powdered groundnuts, or mixed in with a little oil to make it a paste. Uganda’s groundnuts are characteristic of having red skin and so as you can see in the above picture, you will notice a reddish-gray hue. When cooked, the Binyebwa is smooth and ashy pink. This is completely different from peanut butter however, as peanut butter is made from roasted peanuts whereas the groundnut powder is made from raw groundnuts. This sauce is purely vegan — depending on what you choose to serve it with!
This recipe serves 5.
- 2 cups groundnut powder (paste works too!)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons vegetabe oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- Salt to taste
- In a medium sized saucepan, add the vegetable oil and heat it on medium
- Once the oil has heated up, add the onion and tomato
- Stir occasionally until the onions have gone soft
- Add the groundnut sauce to the mixture, followed by the water
- Cook the mixture until it has been brought to a boil, making sure to keep stirring to allow it to properly mix
- Once it has been brought to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for around 25-30 minutes. Make sure to stir regularly to prevent lumps and avoid the sauce from sticking to the bottom
- Add salt to taste
- If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add more boiling water until it reaches desired consistency. If it needs to be thickened more, let it boil for a couple more minutes.
- Once the sauce has been cooked, you will find that the groundnut oil will have separated and risen to the top. This is a indication that the sauce has cooked for long enough (undercooking the raw groundnuts can cause an upset stomach if eaten!)
- Serve Binyebwa sauce as desired; there are a number of ways it can be served:
- Alongside mashed matoke (boiled plantain)
- Alongside dried fish
- Mixed in dodo (dried pumpkin leaves)
- Mixed in with cassava leaves or spinach
- Posho/Ugali (maize flour cooked in boiling water)
What Are the Health Benefits of Groundnuts?
What surprised me the most when doing my research on the health benefits of groundnuts, was they were not nuts at all! In fact, botanically speaking they are actually legumes. Groundnuts are, much like avocados, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acids. This plays an important role in regulating cholesterol levels and thus preventing coronary diseases in the long run. Moreover, the presence of copper in the groundnuts helps lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) and increases the HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol) in our blood.
In addition to blood cholesterol regulation, groundnuts contribute to reducing the risk of diabetes. This is primarily due to the manganese found in groundnuts, which play a significant role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as the absorption of calcium, and blood sugar regulation — all very important aspects of the prevention of developing diabetes in the long run. While groundnuts are rich in carbohydrates, around one-third of the carbohydrates found in groundnuts is fiber, which not only aids in controlling blood sugar levels but also helps maintain healthy bowel movement.
A little-known fact of groundnuts is that they provide antioxidant benefits, which are increased further when the peanuts are boiled. By boiling groundnuts, there is a two-fold increase in Biochanin-A and four times increase in Genistein content — both which serve as antioxidants that enhance our immune system. The essential nutrients such as Vitamin B3 and Niacin help in improving the function of our brains which, in addition to the Resveratrol that promotes blood flow to our brain, ensures high brain function.
This are few of many health benefits of groundnuts, including but not limited to the various studies that have proven there are links to regular groundnut consumption and a reduced risk of colon cancer, stomach cancer, and even Alzheimer’s**.