22 Nov 2022

Kimuli's Luwombo Chicken

This is a traditional Ugandan recipe shared by Chef Kimuli and would be the centre of attention at any celebration. Prepared with care, this dish traditionally uses banana leaves to wrap a blend of chicken and vegetables, before steaming for hours over a charcoal stove. This adaption of the recipe is a little more friendly for home cooking and only needs to steam for an hour.

Ingredients for 8 people:

900g chicken, cut into serving sized pieces

125g unsalted peanuts, finely ground

2 onions, halved and sliced

4 tomatoes, chopped

100g mushrooms, sliced

1 chicken stock cube

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Banana leaves (one per serving) or greaseproof paper

1 smoked fish (optional)

3 plantains, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks


Brown the meat in an oiled frying pan, then remove and set aside. You may need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan.

In the same frying pan add a couple of tablespoons of oil followed by the onion slices. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes to lightly caramelize them, then add the mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Next add the tomatoes, chicken stock cube, salt, pepper, peanuts and the smoked fish. If necessary add a little water to form a smooth sauce. Cook to heat through and thicken up the sauce just a bit.

Plunge the banana leaves in boiling water to soften them, remove the mid-rib and cut the ends off the leaves to form rectangles. If you buy packed banana leaves, most brands have already removed the mid rib for you. Place a portion of meat and some of the sauce in the centre of a leaf. Then add two or three chunks of peeled plantain.

Fold the leaf from the sides and wrap from the ends to make at least a double layer. Tie into a package with oven-proof string then repeat until all the mixture is used up.

Place a wire rack or trivet in the bottom of a large casserole dish then add water to the bottom of the trivet. Place the meat packages on top of the trivet and cover the dish. Bring to a boil and steam the packets for an hour.

Remove the packets from the pot and serve, enjoying the delicious aroma as you unwrap your parcel - an essential part of the Luwombo experience...

Tip: You can also try this with various fillings using coloured strings to help you identify each one!