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Baked butternut with spicy West African peanut sauce

What to serve a vegetarian guest at a "braai" (South African barbeque)? After all, barbequed meat is the essence of a "braai". The good news is that vegetarians don't have to settle for second best at a "braai", because a baked butternut served with spicy peanut sauce is a meal fit for a king, as either a main or side dish.

Marietjie was introduced to West-African peanut sauce on an overland-safari with a few vegetarians. She was so impressed that she considered becoming a vegetarian herself.

Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish and 5 to 6 as a side dish.


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground red pepper, or a whole chilli, finely chopped.
  • 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable or chicken stock, or water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) peanut butter (we prefer crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro or coriander, chopped, to garnish
  • One large butternut



  1. Wrap the unpeeled butternut in foil and place in coals for about an hour, or bake it in the oven at 180°C for about 1½ hours.The cooking time depends on the size of the butternut and the temperature of the coals or oven.
  2. After cooking, cut it open across its length, discard the seeds and remove the skin.


  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet on low to medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion until it starts to become translucent, add garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cilantro.
  4. Stir until smooth.
  5. Simmer until the mixture thickened.

To serve

Cut butternut into thick slices, cover with sauce and garnish with cilantro.