Hakuna Matata

Hakuna matata. There are no worries – especially with today’s dish from Mozambique. Seafood is predominant in this coastal nation which is fortunate since all four of us enjoy it. This time we selected a clam and peanut stew called Matata.

We started with our bag of unsalted and raw peanuts. The kids were both super excited – as in asking over and over if it was time to make dinner – to crack the peanut shells.

Now you might be wondering why cracking peanuts would garner such excitement, well it’s probably because I told the kids they could toss the shells on the floor like at the ballgame. Hakuna matata! 

Needless to say Miss A and Mr. N both fully embraced this rare opportunity to throw food all over the floor with mom’s approval.

Seriously, if you need to occupy your kids in the kitchen, this is the way to go. I think Miss A spent 45 minutes cracking and playing with peanut shells. So while the kids were busy throwing food around the kitchen, I turned to peeling and seeding the tomatoes. Now the book from which we adapted the recipe, Kari Cornell’s Cooking the Southern African Way, offered up this awesome trick for peeling the tomatoes. First, we scored the top of the tomato with an “x” using a sharp pairing knife.

Next we boiled the tomatoes for one minute.

After removing the tomatoes from the water and setting it aside to cool for a few minutes, the skin practically fell right off.

Then with our minimal amount of prep work out-of-the-way, it was time to get cooking. We tossed some diced onion and salt into a large stock pot with some olive oil.

Once the onions were nice and translucent, we then added the chopped tomatoes,

the clams in the clam juice,

the chopped peanuts and seasonings including salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

We let the stew simmer for 30 minutes during which time Miss A was still cracking more peanuts. Then for the finishing touch we tossed in some greens. In Mozambique they typically use pumpkin leaves, but without access to those we went with the author’s suggestions to use spinach.

We cooked the spinach in the stew for another few minutes and then served our matata with some white rice.

The stew smelled delicious and comforting. Now having already cooked with clams in their juice with some degree of success, we were looking forward to trying this dish from Mozambique.

And it didn’t disappoint. Both Mike and I really enjoyed this stew. It was hearty, flavorful and comforting. It earned a definite 3 spoons from each of us. Mr. N also liked the stew. While he only gave it 2-1/2 spoons, he did end up eating all of his serving. Miss A was our lone dissenter. She hated the stew and gave it 1 spoon. She gave it a good try, but it just wasn’t to her liking. I can’t say I’m surprised since she’s not a big fan of chicken noodle soup either and this is definitely similar.

So all-in-all this meal was a success from the preparation on through the meal. It was quick, easy and a very fun recipe for the kids.

Now before we sign-off, we’d like to say a brief and heartfelt thank you to all of those that have passed along various awards in the last few weeks. While we haven’t had a chance to personally address and thank each one of you, please know that we are truly grateful and appreciative. We value all of our readers and are always humbled when someone thinks enough of us to send us an award. Thank you.

Have a great week everyone and we’ll be back later in the week with a new stateside cooking adventure.

Print this recipe: Matata

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47 comments on “Hakuna Matata

  1. Karen says:

    When I started reading this post, I thought…this is going to be four spoons all the way around. I love the fun and adventure that occurs in your home and the memories that you are making.

  2. Hakuna Matata indeed! Now I have that song stuck in my head Kristy. It’s been years since that song was played endlessly in the car as the kids clapped along in the backseat of my van. Thanks for the rewind.

    The dish sounds truly unusual to me. I have never considered having clams and peanuts in the same dish but with a three spoon rating, it’s hard to pass it up! You certainly made it look dig-in-able (sorry for the made up word!). —Geni :)

    • Kristy says:

      LOL! That reminds me of last week – Miss A asked that I put on some kids’ music. As soon as I did Mr. N let out a big groan and a “seriously?!” I had to laugh because when he was three I can’t tell you how many times we had to endure that cd on a two week road trip. It was about to drive Mike and I insane. LOL! And your made up words are allowed anytime! They are always awesome!

  3. Such an interesting recipe…
    Such an nice idea to involve kids.. makes even more fun even if it means a huge clean up ;-) Beautiful family time…

  4. hotlyspiced says:

    That is a great one about the peanut shells – I have never let my kids throw things on the floor – just think what fun they have missed out on! I love the look of this meal. It must be full of flavour and it is so vibrant with the fresh baby spinach xx

  5. Great idea to keep the kids included:) The food looks really good:)

  6. That Miss A. She’s going to be a food critic. This looks great to me, the crushing shells and the recipe.

  7. My girls would be beside themselves if I let them throw peanut shells on our floor. I’ve done that at a salon out west, but never at home. Hmmmm…something to think about. Were you all singing the song while you cooked? It is such an addictive song, isn’t it? I think the vote would be split in my household, but I would really like this dish!

    • Kristy says:

      The clean-up actually isn’t too bad as long as you contain it to the kitchen table area. :) Well-worth it. Your girls would have a blast!

  8. I know I comment on your sweet children every time, Kristy, but they are just so surprising. Miss A doesn’t like chicken noodle soup but will eat some of the most unusually adult tastes.I am sure both children are well on their way to lifelong adventures with cooking and one day we may be watching them on Top Chef! This does look comforting. And easy! I know we would enjoy it. Debra

  9. Deborah says:

    Now I know what I need to do to keep my kids occupied while I cook dinner! :)

  10. What a delicious stew – there really would be no need to worry if you ate this :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Courtney says:

    You are my hero for letting your kids do that. I think my body actually cringed in horror when I read that…maybe I could let the boys do it outside?? Anyways, this stew sounds really interesting with the peanuts in it. Glad (most of) you liked it. :)

  12. Purely.. Kay says:

    You know, I was never a huge fan of soup growing up either.. now I love it. Maybe give Miss A some time.. she might turn around. As for me, I’m not a huge clam person.. but just about everything you make Kristy has me hungry so who knows I might like this too lol. And look at those nut shells on the floor.. beautiful photo.. but I’m sure you didn’t want to clean that up lol

  13. Eva Taylor says:

    While I admire you, Kristy for your courage to allow the children to throw the peanut shells all over the floor, I can’t help but wonder how long it took for the cleanup, and how many shells travelled outside the appointed area. And for how long you will be picking up peanut shells from areas in your house that you couldn’t have imagined that the lowly peanut shell would travel ;-)
    The recipe looks interesting, would it taste primarily of peanut or clams? And did the peanuts retain their crunch? or did they get creamy like cashews do in Indian cooking? I particularly like saying the name of this dish. Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata!
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

    • Kristy says:

      LOL! The clean-up actually wasn’t too bad. I did find one stray shell in the dining room, but otherwise they were pretty well contained. The soup mostly tasted of clams with a hint of tomato flavor. The peanuts did retain their crunch which surprised me a bit. :)

  14. Caroline says:

    I feel as though I’d even have fun cracking/throwing peanuts on the kitchen floor, ha! But you’re right–great way to keep them occupied. This stew sounds really hearty and delicious. I don’t ever eat clams, but I’m willing to expand my horizons. ;)

  15. First, I must comment on Miss A’s toe polish – lovely! And I didn’t realize you threw peanut shells at games – by ballgame, do you mean baseball? (can you tell I’m not American :0) – how fun and I suspect the cleanup is keeping somebody employed. Unlike Charles, I am quite accustomed to messes and have learnt to embrace (aka: surrender) to the chaos long ago ;-), so I’m all for it! I don’t think I have ever peeled or seeded a tomato in my life (despite recipes calling for same), but if I ever do, I’ll now know how. We love peanut stew but I would have never thought to combine it with clam… how unique. And I like the spinach too – yum!

    • Kristy says:

      Yep – baseball games. Preferably Cubs games. :) And like you, I’ve definitely learned to embrace the chaos.That said, I still pick up the house like a mad woman before I sit down at night. I have learned to let it go during the day though, and believe me that wasn’t easy. LOL.

  16. Dawn says:

    What a great idea with the peanuts!!! I love finding things like that which keep the kids occupied for a long time while I cook – I might need to try that sometime :).

  17. sallybr says:

    Your kids are amazing, and yes, you should tell them Sally said so! I would not touch a clam on my plate until I turned 25. Pathetic person that I used to be.

    Actually, I would probably leave the dining room pouting if one of those beings was around… :-)

    great dish, I love peanuts in cooking, I don’t care for the consistency of peanut butter (or any other nut butter), but use them all in cooking, such great flavor!

    • Kristy says:

      LOL – I know I would have left the table pouting, or had to sit at the table pouting if these were in front of me as a kid too. :) I agree – these guys are pretty amazing! And I’ll tell them you said so.

  18. Great idea and inexpensive way to entertain the kids! Yeah, I’m impressed you got the kids to eat or try clams. I made clam (canned) sauce a few weeks back, I ended up eating it. I wish I could get my husband and kids to eat clamsm they are all not big on seafood. Anyhow, Hakuna Matata! (btw, that was my favorite movie when it came out!)

    • Kristy says:

      Hakuna matata! Mr. N likes clams – has since he was three. Miss A not so much, but really that’s the only seafood she doesn’t like so far. :)

  19. Charles says:

    Eek – shells all over the floor! I’m not a fan of mess – I guess that’s something I’m going to have to learn to accept :D I can totally understand that it must be a great way of entertaining the kids though!

    Clams aren’t common here – at least not that I’ve ever seen in cans. Apparently they’re called “Palourdes” in French – I know they have them in seafood restaurants… I’ll have to see if they sell them at the fish counter! Looks yummy :)

    • Kristy says:

      Yep…you’ll definitely have to get used to messes. ;) That said, I still don’t like messes…I’ve just learned to tolerate them a bit more. Most days.

  20. What fun for the kids with the shells. I’m not hugely keen on peanuts in food – I had one too many bad experiences with a friend of my husband who added peanut butter to everything he cooked! With that said, this sounds scrumptious. :-) Mandy

  21. rsmacaalay says:

    Clams and peanuts, that would taste awesome! I like it that you let your kids do fun stuff in your kitchen, I should do it sometime as well.

  22. ChgoJohn says:

    This really does sound good, Kristy. And I think you’re a genius letting the kids dump the peanut shells on the floor. Why sweat the small stuff? Let’s face it, the broom was going to make an appearance anyway because no matter how careful they were, some shells were going to end up on the floor. Let them have some fun — and then you can blog about it and we all get a kick reading about it. A win/win/win! :)

  23. I love this one.. it did remind me of chicken soup, I think the clams would be just so delicious in it with the spinach as well! Love the painted toes:)

  24. A_Boleyn says:

    Another intriguing recipe using familiar ingredients in interesting way. Always a treat to see one of your posts. :)

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