In standard Portuguese molho means a “sauce” or “gravy”. But on the island of São Nicolaumolho is a Creole word for a traditional dish. On that Cape Verdean island no wedding reception would be complete without molho on the menu. The combination of chicken with bananas, manioc, yams, pumpkin, and hot peppers is simply marvelous.


2 chickens (7 to 8 pounds), cut up

2 teaspoons salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 malaguetta or chili peppers, seeded, and chopped

2 large onions

2 tablespoons lard or shortening

2 large ripe tomatoes

6 green bananas

1½ pounds manioc root

1½ pounds yams

1 pound pumpkin

1 sprig cilantro, chopped


Cut chicken into serving pieces. Place 1 teaspoon salt, the garlic, and peppers in a mortar and mash to a purée. Rub the chicken pieces with the purée and set aside. Slice the onions thinly and sauté in the lard until transparent. Add chicken pieces. Cut tomatoes into cubes and pulse in a processor for 5 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 3 quarts of water to the pot. Bring to a boil. educe heat and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Peel bananas, cut into 1-inch diagonal slices, and cover with water and 1 teaspoon salt. Peel the manioc, yams, and pumpkin and cut into cubes. After the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes add the bananas, manioc, yams, and pumpkin to the pot. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, uncovered.

Pour chicken and vegetables into a large deep platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.


Serves 10 - 12.


country : Cape Verde

course : poultry dish


source : Cuisines of Portuguese Encounters / Cherie Y. Hamilton


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