Caril de Matapa by Fernando Vasco Chirunda 

Caril de Matapa, a Mozambican dish at the crossroads of the Silk Road and the Spice Road

Mozambican food is mainly made of cassava, millet flour, rice, fish or seafood. Ginger, lime, coconut milk and chili (piri-piri) are the basic flavors.

The culinary tradition of Mozambique is influenced by its History. Since the Middle Age, Arabic merchants have conveyed spices by the Silk Road from India to Africa, including Mozambique.

In the 15th century, Mozambique became a Portuguese colony. Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and placed on the Spice Route (a trade route connecting Portugal to India by the Atlantic, then by the Indian Ocean), it is still widely supplied with spices.

The Mozambican food has integrated the colors of the Indian curries (caril) brought by these Arab and then Portuguese merchants. She was also inspired by the richness of Portuguese food, for example by incorporating the potato.

Fernando Vasco Chirunda presents here his delicious family recipe for a typical Mozambican dish: Caril de Matapa.



5 / 6


1 hour 15




3 onions, finely chopped
5 or 6 crushed garlic cloves
1 tomato
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
300 g shrimp
150 g peanut butter
250 ml coconut milk
4 MAGGI cubes
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 kg fresh, young cassava leaves, pounded
1 kg of rice
Salt to taste


Matapa can be eaten with bread, rice, or “xima”, a cassava flour porridge.

Cooking directions

Preliminary remark :

  • Ingredients should be chopped as finely as possible.
  • The Matapa must simmer for at least 1 hour.
  • It is advisable to add liquid little by little to prevent the preparation from being too liquid.
  1. Boil the cassava leaves with previously cooked chopped garlic.
  2. In a saucepan, brown the chopped onions in a small amount of oil over medium-low heat. Cook until the onions are translucent without browning them.
  3. Add the chopped shrimp, peanut butter, coconut milk, salt, MAGGI cubes and a pinch of crushed pink pepper to the onions, stirring continuously.
  4. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat.
  5. Then add the previously boiled cassava leaves.
  6. Continue to mix until the peanut butter is cooked after about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Tightly cover your pan.
  8. As soon as the cassava leaves are cooked, the Matapa is ready to be served.
  9. You can add cashew nuts at the last minute if you wish.
Caril de Matapa