a plate of Ugandan buffet food with groundnut stew
a Ugandan buffet with Ugandan groundnut stew served right above the matooke

Groundnuts are also known as peanuts are the second most important legume after beans in Uganda. They are predominately grown on a small scale by farmers mostly in eastern and northern Uganda. Groundnuts are slowly becoming a commercial crop.

Whole Groundnuts seeds can be eaten as a snack for breakfast with tea, or at any time of the day.  Fresh groundnuts in groundnut growing areas are cooked in their shells and then eaten as a snack.  These freshly cooked groundnuts are slowly becoming a common street snack in Kampala, most often sold by young girls and women from the north on the streets of Kampala.  Fresh ground nuts still in their shells can also be roasted in a saucepan and eaten as a snack. Interestingly you can roast fresh ground nuts under a bunch of dry grasses and banana fibres which are set ablaze with the ground nuts under them. These are the most common ways of eating fresh groundnuts in groundnut growing communities in the country most especially in the east. 

After the grounds have been harvested, they are spread out in the sun to dry daily for a period of at least 2 weeks, these are then stored or sold. Ground nut paste is made out of fresh ground nuts.

Peeled red beauty ground nuts
Peeled red beauty ground nuts

How to make groundnut paste used for making groundnut stew

Groundnut stew can be made from two types of groundnuts. The raw ones and the roasted ones, the stews may vary in their taste due to the type of groundnut used.

There are two methods of making groundnut paste in Uganda.  The traditional one using the pestle and mortar. The modern way is by crushing the ground nuts using paste making machines. This method is commercial making large quantities of groundnut paste.

In the traditional method, the fresh paste every time you make the groundnut stew. Groundnuts are peeled or unshelled from their hard skin and roasted lightly in a saucepan on low heat.  These are then pounded in a mortar until they are fully crushed and start forming a paste.  Unroasted groundnuts can also make a paste in this method, but they normally take a longer time.  Raw groundnut powder is usually used for making katogo of grounds and matoke.

How to cook the best Ugandan groundnut stew

The groundnut stew is known by different names in the different districts, for example, it is called maido in by the Bagwere in Pallisa district one of the areas that have adopted groundnut as a staple food.

Groundnut stew is commonly and popularly called ebinyebwa in central Uganda and Kampala the capital city in the Lugandadialect.

Groundnuts stew has become very popular due to its trend being served at most Ugandan parties right above or next to the matooke. Ugandan folks love to eat their groundnut paste with steaming hot matooke at parties. I think this is also due to the little soup served at parties. Parents and elders avoiding fatty food and meats prefer the groundnut stew to the fatty meats.

Groundnut paste can be cooked plain or mixed with anything from vegetables, to various fresh and roasted meats.

Ugandan Ground nut Stew in a saucepan
cooking Ugandan groundnut stew


1 medium size Dry fish

6 tsp of Groundnut paste

2 Tomatoes

  2 Onions

1 Green paper



Remove the bones and skin from your fish. And leave only the flesh. You can also cook your fish whole. Pour the fish into a cooking pot/ saucepan and place it over medium heat.

Add seasoning to the fish to taste. Then add the finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green paper and a pinch or two of salt and let them boil together until ready.

Use the same first method for anything else you want to cook with groundnut stew for example roasted meat, mushrooms, vegetables. Repace fish with anything else you would like to mix with the ground paste.

Mix 6 tablespoons of groundnut paste with water and stir until it fully dissolves in the water.  Warm water will dissolve the paste faster than cold water.

 Add 1- 2 medium cups of water to the solution and place it on medium to low heat.  And start stirring frequently to prevent the groundnut paste from sticking to the bottom of your cooking pot. Note that the ground nuts will immediately start burning after they stick to your pan.

Cook the stew until it starts producing oil on top, you can now cut in your onions and add salt to taste. Wait for more than five minutes or 10. At this moment your plain groundnut stew is ready and can be served with matoke, Kalo, sweet potatoes, rice, anything you want to eat it with.

Add your cooked fish to the plain groundnuts stew and let it cook together for 10 to 20 minutes on low heat to let the flavours mix.  This stew is favourably enjoyed with Ugandan Kalo in the east and northern Uganda. You can eat it with your favourite meal.

Ugandan groundnut stew served with matooke, rice and pumpkin
Ugandan Groundnut stew served with rice, matooke and pumpkin

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