LUWOMBO meal is a Ugandan delicacy and one of my favorite meals. If you have never been to Uganda and may have plans of visiting this beautiful country one day please do not leave with out trying out a luwombo prepared meal. Most people eat this special meal on special days but I could have it any day, everyday! Luwombo is basically sauce cooked in banana leaves. The banana leaves are specially prepared over heat with low smoke to make the leaves aromatic and soft enough to contain the food. It is actually a method of preparing stews by steaming as you will get to learn as you read along. I am going to share how to prepare the different types which include: chicken luwombo, smoked meat luwombo, mushrooms in ground nuts paste luwombo, smoked meat in ground nuts paste luwombo and dry fish in ground nuts paste luwombo.
Writing this piece reminds me of my foods and nutrition practical exams way back in high school because this was one of my favorite meals prepared. Because it is easy, time saving and most important nutrient saving.

  1. Chicken luwombo recipe

Ingredients
-1 whole chicken
-1 large onion
-2 medium sized tomatoes
-1 large carrot
-3 Irish potatoes
-1 tablespoon of cilantro
-Salt to taste
-1 cup of water
-Spices of your choice (1 chicken stock cube, 1 teaspoon Chicken curry masala, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
-1 teaspoon olive oil (optional and used only if the chicken is lean)
-Luwombo leaves (You can get these readily prepared)
-Kitchen thread or a banana fibre

Directions

  • You can decide to prepare this meal as a whole chicken or the chicken cut into pieces. Smoke your chicken over charcoal until it is golden brown. You can also use the grill or BBQ stove for this purpose. Add the chicken whole or pieces in the luwombo leaf that is positioned in a large enough bowel.
  • Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, carrot, cilantro into the chicken.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into the chicken.
  • Add the salt and spices to the water, mix well and pour into the chicken
  • Add olive oil if the chicken is lean and not fatty.
  • Wrap up the banana leaf and tie it up with kitchen thread or the banana fibre.
  • To cook you can further rap your luwombo with normal banana leaves in a saucepan cushioned with a banana stem at the bottom and cover to prevent loss of steam as much as possible. If you stay out of Uganda and may nor have access to this you can steam your luwombo using a steamer all at medium heat for up to 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.
      2. Smoked meat luwombo

Ingredients
-1kg of beef
-1 large onion
-2 medium sized tomatoes
-1 medium sized carrot
-1 medium sized green pepper
-3 Irish potatoes 
-Salt to taste
-1 cup of water
-1 tablespoon of cilantro
-Spices of your choice (1 beef stock cube, 1 teaspoon Beef curry masala, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
-1 teaspoon olive oil (optional and used only if the beef is lean)
-Luwombo leaves (You can get these readily prepared)
-Kitchen thread or a banana fibre

  Directions

  • First you need to tenderise your meat using any of these meat tenderising methods
  • Smoke the meat over charcoal until it is golden brown. You can add some BBQ sticks to your fire for yet more aroma. You can also use the grill or BBQ stove for this purpose. Cut the meat into pieces and add it to the luwombo leaf that is positioned in a large enough bowel.
  • Finely chop the onions, cilantro, green pepper and tomatoes and add to the meat.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into the meat.
  • Add the salt and spices to the water, mix well and pour into the meat.
  • Add olive oil if the beef is lean and not fatty.
  • Wrap up the banana leaf and tie it up with kitchen thread or the banana fibre.
  • To cook you can further rap your luwombo with normal banana leaves in a saucepan cushioned with a banana stem at the bottom and cover to prevent loss of steam as much as possible. If you stay out of Uganda and may nor have access to this you can steam your luwombo using a steamer all at medium heat for up to 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.

     3.  Mushrooms in ground nut paste luwombo
Ingredients
-500g ground nuts
-200g dried mushrooms
-1 large onion
-Salt to taste
-1 and 1/2 cups of water
-Luwombo leaves (You can get these readily prepared)
-Kitchen thread or a banana fibre

Directions
  • Roast the ground nuts in a pan on medium heat until half cooked. (You can test this by tasting them).
  • Grind the ground nuts using a grinder until you get a uniform powder. (You can also buy already prepared ground ground nuts)
  • Using half of the water, make a paste from the ground nut powder making sure the paste has no hard particles and is consistent.
  • Add the rest of the water and stir to mix uniformly.
  • Finely chop the onion and add it in, add the mushrooms after this and the salt and stir.
  • You can regulate the water according to the thickness of your paste.
  • Pour the whole mix into the luwombo leaf positioned in a round bowel.
  • Wrap up the banana leaf and tie it up with kitchen thread or the banana fibre.
  • To cook you can further rap your luwombo with normal banana leaves in a saucepan cushioned with a banana stem at the bottom and cover to prevent loss of steam as much as possible. If you stay out of Uganda and may nor have access to this you can steam your luwombo using a steamer all at medium heat for up to 1 hour.

     4. Smoked meat in ground nut paste luwombo

Ingredients
-500g ground nuts
-500g smoked meat
-1 medium sized tomato
-1 large onion
-Salt to taste
-1 and 1/2 cups of water
-Luwombo leaves (You can get these readily prepared)
-Kitchen thread or a banana fibre

Directions
  • Roast the ground nuts in a pan on medium heat until half cooked. (You can test this by tasting them).
  • Grind the ground nuts using a grinder until you get a uniform powder. (You can also buy already prepared ground ground nuts)
  • Using half of the water, make a paste from the ground nut powder making sure the paste has no hard particles and is consistent.
  • Add the rest of the water and stir to mix uniformly.
  • Finely chop the onion and tomato and add it in. Then chop your well smoked meat into small pieces and add it to the ground nuts after this and the salt and stir.
  • You can regulate the water according to the thickness of your paste.
  • Pour the whole mix into the luwombo leaf positioned in a round bowel.
  • Wrap up the banana leaf and tie it up with kitchen thread or the banana fibre.
  • To cook you can further rap your luwombo with normal banana leaves in a saucepan cushioned with a banana stem at the bottom and cover to prevent loss of steam as much as possible. If you stay out of Uganda and may nor have access to this you can steam your luwombo using a steamer all at medium heat for up to 1 and 1/2 hours.

    5. Smoked fish in ground nut paste luwombo
Ingredients
-500g ground nuts
-1 medium sized dried smoked fish
-1 medium sized tomato
-1 large onion
-Salt to taste
-1 and 1/2 cups of water
-Luwombo leaves (You can get these readily prepared)
-Kitchen thread or a banana fibre


Directions
  • Roast the ground nuts in a pan on medium heat until half cooked. (You can test this by tasting them).
  • Grind the ground nuts using a grinder until you get a uniform powder. (You can also buy already prepared ground ground nuts)
  • Using half of the water, make a paste from the ground nut powder making sure the paste has no hard particles and is consistent.
  • Add the rest of the water and stir to mix uniformly.
  • Finely chop the onion and tomato and add it in. Then chop your well dried smoked fish into portions and add it to the ground nuts after this and the salt and stir.
  • You can regulate the water according to the thickness of your paste.
  • Pour the whole mix into the luwombo leaf positioned in a round bowel.
  • Wrap up the banana leaf and tie it up with kitchen thread or the banana fibre.
  • To cook you can further rap your luwombo with normal banana leaves in a saucepan cushioned with a banana stem at the bottom and cover to prevent loss of steam as much as possible. If you stay out of Uganda and may nor have access to this you can steam your luwombo using a steamer all at medium heat for up to 1 hour.

Important notes

  1. All luwombo can be served well with steamed mashed plantains, vegetable boiled rice, steamed potatoes with steamed vegetables or anything of your choice.
  2. Take care that the luwombo leaves have no holes and that are tied up properly lest you lose your stew.
  3. Add a little more salt to taste because the steam will produce more water to the stew.
  4. When ready place the luwombo in a presentable round dish or plate that it fits to properly and untie to serve.

Well this is one of my favorite dishes ever and I enjoyed writing every bit to share it with you. I hope when you try it for the first time you will enjoy it as much as I do. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments box below! Cheers!!