Poulet Moambé / Poulet Nyembwe

Oil for frying, preferably palm oil
One chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
One onion, finely chopped (optional)
One ripe tomato, chopped; or canned tomato, drained, (optional)
One to two dozen okra, chopped (optional)
Two cloves garlic, finely chopped -- or -- one small bunch of sorrel leaves or parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Chile pepper, chopped (optional)
Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
Moambé or nyembwe sauce (also called palm butter); or canned Palm Soup Base (also called "Sauce Graine" or "Noix de Palme"), available in African and International grocery stores  

Fry the chicken and any optional ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet until the chicken is browned but not done.
Reduce heat and add the spices. Add two cups of the moambé / nyembwe sauce or canned palm soup base and one cup water. Simmer over low heat until everything is cooked and tender (maybe an hour), stirring often. Stir before serving. The red palm oil tends to separate from the sauce; some people remove some or most of this red oil before serving.

Moambé or Nyembwe Sauce (Palm Butter)

Palm nuts, the fruit of the African oil palm, are available only in the tropics. The Palm Butter (or Nyembwe sauce) is made by boiling the fruit and discarding the skin and nut kernels. 

Approximately one hundred fresh, ripe, palm nuts  

Bring two or three cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Place the palm nuts in the boiling water (they do not need to be covered by the water). Cover and cook the palm nuts for a few minutes, until the skins begin to come off.
Drain the water from the pan. Use a potato masher (or a mortar and pestle) to crush the palm nuts into a pulp.
Combine the palm nut pulp with one to two quarts (approximately two liters) of cold water. Stir. Squeeze the palm nuts with your hands to remove all the fruit and oil from the palm nuts.
Press the pulp through a strainer into the saucepan (rinse it first). Discard the nut skins and kernels that remain in the strainer. You might want to strain it twice, to remove all the nut kernels and bits of skin, and to make sure all the oil and fruit end up in the saucepan. Heat the pulp to a low boil, stir often, and cook until the sauce is thickened (maybe an hour). Once the sauce is heated, chicken and other ingredients can be added and cooked in the thickening sauce to make Poulet Nyembwe

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