Luwombo: An Ugandan Recipe

So I was on the internet some time ago and I realized that there are many people, all over the world, who actually love to learn about African traditional food recipes. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of rich foods, drinks and even desserts that will put your taste buds under a really serious aromatic and sensuous attack.

So, over a period of time, for you our dear readers, we will be uploading some wonderful easy-to-make African recipes that are simply delightful.

Harriet Van Horne once said that “Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all”. I agree with her. Cooking is something that gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Slicing, dicing, sauteing, frying, broiling, boiling…these are things that I derive pleasure in doing. Not just because it’s a chore, as it is for most of us. Cooking should be a delight. Imagine the heart and soul that goes into creating that perfect dish at that superb restaurant. Instead of eating out all the time, you can create and cook up something absolutely fabulous.

So, we will be learning how to make the Luwombo dish from Uganda in East Africa. Luwombo is a traditional meal that is wrapped in banana leaves. Yeah. Banana or plantain leaves have this flavor that they give to some dishes. These leaves are used in quite a number of sub-Saharan dishes. There are also recipes that demand a mixture of beef and fish. Yeah, you really should get ready to have your taste buds romanced.

Here’s what you need;

  • 2 lb. beef, diced
  • 1 cup of ground unsalted peanuts
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped or 1 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 piece of smoked fish or smoked meat. If you can’t get smoked fish or meat, you could try the broiled or grilled version. However, this is optional.
  • Banana leaves
  • 6 plantains
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water
  • White strings.

Here’s how to go about it;

  • Sauté the meat in a lightly oiled pan until browned on all sides. Set aside.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, then add the onions and cook for 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes, chicken bouillon cube, salt, pepper, peanuts, mushrooms and smoked fish (or smoked meat ). If necessary, add a little water to form a smooth sauce. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the meat and mix all together.
  • Get banana leaves that are not torn and remove the mid ribs carefully. Cut the banana leaves to form 10-inch wide rectangles.
  • Place the banana leaves above a fire for a few seconds to soften. Or you could put them on a warm surface if you’re fire-phobic until they’re soft to touch.  Rinse them with water.
  • Place the leaves overlapping in a container for alignment.
  • Place your meal at the center and fold the leaves all up and tie them round. You could also tie them in a square form.

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  • Depending on the number of people in your household, you need to repeat the above exercise to make sure that you get the number you want. This is because very big mpombo (plural of luwombo) don’t cook well when in large quantities.
  • After you finish tying them up, get a big saucepan, put some small chopped matooke stems or pieces of wood in it, make sure that you leave some space of not more than three inches to allow the mpombo to sit well. This will also allow the steam to move about freely as it cooks the mpombo.

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  • Serve with boiled, mashed plantains.

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And you’re ready to have your taste buds beautifully romanced.

P.S: For more food recipes, download our app here.

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