Nyembwe chicken is considered the National dish of Gabon. In fact nyembwe means “palm oil” in the Bantu language. The palm oil comes from the fruit of the African palm. This dish is loved by many African countries in western and central Africa. It is made with smoked chicken plus palm nut butter and onions. The two together make a unique balance of flavor.
I found a can of the palm nut butter at my local African market and I also found a fu-fu mix which I purchased and made it to serve with the Nyembwe chicken. It is also often served with fried plantains. The smoked chicken was excellent. I turned my grill into a smoker! Here’s a pic of the chicken and then the finished product. Make sure to use a thermometer, I like this one.
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- 1 whole chicken
- 2 cups of wood chips (apple, hickory, cedar, mesquite etc.
- 1 can of beer
- aluminum foil
- For Nyembwe:
- 1 smoked chicken de-boned
- ½ tin of palm butter (sauce graine)
- red palm oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Using aluminum foil make a pouch using the wood chips, poke a few holes in the pouch
- Place them in direct contact with your heat source ie just above the burners of your gas grill
- Open the can of beer, either drink half of pour out half.
- Salt and pepper the chicken and set on the beer can to stand up
- put in a meat thermometer in the breast or thigh.
- Put the heat on about medium and close the lid
- Cover any openings in the top with aluminum foil to create a smoke house.
- You will want to maintain a temperature of 300 degrees. It will take about 1½ hours to smoke the chicken, the internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- For the Nyembwe
- Pour the palm butter in a skillet, add a glass of water and heat over medium.
- Skim oil which forms at the surface after a few minutes.
- Continue to cook over medium
- In another pan, heat the red palm oil and add the onions, saute for about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and shredded chicken. Saute for a few minutes
- Add chicken and onions to the warm palm butter, stir until combined and let cook together for a few minutes.
- Serve warm with some fu-fu and fried plantains.