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Eefukwa or Bambara Groundnuts with Tomato Sauce and Creamy Polenta

Eefukwa or Bambara Groundnuts (Vigna subterraneacan) is an indigenous African legume that originated in parts of West Africa. Local communal farmers cultivate Eefukwa, as the Bambara groundnut is called locally, in Northern Namibia. It is a complete food that contains fat, protein and carbohydrate and is intercropped with cereal crops. As a snack, it is boiled and seasoned. Elsewhere it or roasted and pounded into a pulp. This pulp can be added to soups. In Zambia, the groundnuts are dried and ground into flour that is used to bake bread. This recipe turns Eefukwa into a stew.

Not too long ago, coarsely ground yellow maize meal was very common in Namibia. It has since been replaced with white maize meal. Supermarkets and health shops still stock the courser yellow variety but it is sold under its Italian name “Polenta”. Although Namibians cook a lot of maize meal as pap (porridge), it is mostly cooked in water with some salt, and as a result is quite bland. This version uses butter and hard Italian cheese to add more flavour, so this is posh pap by Namibian standards.

Eefukwa or Bambara Groundnuts with Tomato Sauce and Creamy Polenta

Recipe by christiekeulderCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Eefukwa or Bambara Groundnuts as they are known locally, is a traditional legume that is very versatile. Here the Eefukwa is cooked to form a stew and is served with another Namibian staple, maize porridge or pap.


  • The Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 4 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli flakes

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded

  • 800 grams tinned tomatoes

  • salt (to taste)

  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)

  • The Groundnuts
  • 2 cups eefukwa, soaked overnight

  • The Polenta
  • 4 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup polenta

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing

  • ⅓ cup fresh (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped

  • freshly ground black pepper


  • The Tomato Sauce
  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot or pan set over medium heat. Add the onion, the garlic, 2 teaspoons of the oregano, the red chilli flakes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté for another 3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, stirring to break them up with a wooden spoon. Add another pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, at the barest simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced and beginning to separate from the oil, at least 2 hours. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oregano and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be made up to this point 1 or 2 days ahead. Let cool and refrigerate if you want to keep the sauce.
  • The Eefukwa
  • Soak the beans overnight in enough cold water to cover them completely. Add the beans to cold water and boil over medium heat until the beans are soft. Skim the pot regularly to remove any scum. When the beans are cooked, remove them from the heat and drain. Set aside to let them cool and keep them for when your wish to make your stew.
  • The polenta
  • About 45 minutes before serving, bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the salt and, whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring nearly constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, the grains soften, and the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes (if it is the normal, non-instant polenta). Stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and season with pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  • To assemble the dish
  • Add the beans to the tomato sauce and warm them together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley about 5 minutes before serving. Spoon the polenta into warmed shallow bowls and make a well in the center of each serving. Spoon the tomato sauce into the well. Garnish with cheese to your heart’s content.
Eefukwa or Bambara nuts
Eefukwa or Bambara nuts

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