Matapa is a popular Mozambican stew in which fresh crab is slowly simmered in a peanut and coconut sauce. Tropical and very tasty.






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In Mozambique, Sarah meets Sonia, who shares her recipe matapa which she serves at the restaurant she runs, a local favourite!


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1¾ cups unsalted peanuts
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  • 2 fresh crabs, steamed for 6-10 minutes (or use 6-8 large fresh prawns, also steamed)
  • 1 large bunch spinach (or cassava leaves)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Finely chop the spinach (or cassava leaves) and garlic, and add to a large pot along with a pinch of salt, the onion and tomato, and just enough water to cover. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is smooth and almost sticky, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, grind the unsalted peanuts as finely as possible to get 1½ cups of ground peanuts. Mix peanuts with a bit of coconut milk to form a paste. Add peanut paste and the remaining coconut milk, as well as the steamed crab, into the pot with the greens and mix well.

3. Allow to simmer over low heat for 1 hour and then season to taste and serve with steamed white rice.