I’m pretty sure I am not alone when I say that Sudanese food has definitely been slept on. This rich and unique cuisine has so many amazing dishes and distinctive flavour combinations, influenced by various other cuisines, but always adding its own special touch. I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone because it is so good and moreish, I couldn’t stop myself from going back for more.
Dakwa in the Sudanese dialect means peanut butter, or rather, peanut paste. It is traditionally a peanut powder that is used in many Sudanese dishes, both savoury and sweet. I myself love peanuts and peanut butter in all their shapes and forms, but I usually associate peanuts being used in savoury dishes with Asian dishes, such as Satay and Pad Thai. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are used heavily in the Sudanese kitchen and can’t wait to explore more.
While this is called a Salatit Dakwa, or Dakwa Salad, I would call it more of a dip, as it is scooped up with bread and served as an appetiser or side dish. The ingredients may seem simple, but the flavour is anything but that. The vinegar and lime juice pack a punch, while the chilies give it some heat, the tomatoes some freshness and the peanut butter an earthiness and subtle crunch. Every ingredient plays its part, and plays it well.
Like many simple dishes, it is important to use the most fresh and best quality ingredients possible, so that each shines through. The peanut butter must be a natural peanut butter, without any added sugar – just peanuts, salt, and, maybe, a little oil. A sweet peanut butter will not give the taste intended and will not go well with the rest of the ingredients. Crunchy is best for a great texture, but if you don’t like crunch at all, you can go for smooth. This is one of those recipes that you need to taste while making and tweak the flavours to your liking. You may like a little more or less heat, a bit more acidity, or even a bit more of a nutty flavour from the peanut butter, so keep tasting and adding until you get it just right for you.
Once you’ve found just the right combination, pour it into a bowl and fold in your tomatoes, making sure you don’t crush them too much. Then, place in a serving platter and garnish with sesame oil, another popular ingredient in Sudanese cuisine. It ties all the flavours together and amplifies the nuttiness; it is really the perfect garnish. Add some chopped chillies and a bit of crumbled white cheese if you like, then scoop up this delicious dip with some warm bread and be prepared to fall in love with your new favourite dip.
½ cup crunchy peanut butter (natural)
1-2 green chilies, finely chopped (to taste)
½ – 1 tbsp vinegar
1-2 tsp garlic paste (to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
Sesame oil (to garnish)
- In a food processor, place the peanut butter, chillies, lime juice, garlic, salt, and vinegar and mix until you get a smooth consistency. Place in a bowl.
- Fold in your finely chopped tomatoes and taste. Adjust to your taste and place in a serving bowl.
- Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with some chillies; enjoy with warm bread.