Kitaba Gives Peanut Butter A Spicy Kick

As any visit to the grocery store can show you, different varieties of nut butters have been gaining popularity in recent years. Not only will you find classic staples like peanut butter and almond butter, but delectable options like pecan butter and pistachio butter have also made their way to grocery store shelves. One nutty topping that you may not have heard of is kitaba, a savory peanut spread used in Angolan cuisine (via Bon Appétit). If you're a peanut fan and looking to spice up your nut butter collection, kitaba may be a great addition to your kitchen cabinet.

Angolan food originates from — you guessed it — Angola, a country located on the West coast of Southern Africa. In an interview with The Diasporic Dish, Angolan chef Anselmo Silvestre said Angolan cuisine has heavy Portuguese and Brazilian influences and described the food as "accessible and easy to infuse with other flavors and cuisines". 

Peanuts (called ginguba) are an essential ingredient in Angolan cuisine and a staple in Angolan street food. They can be eaten on their own as a snack with sugar, cinnamon, or a spice called jindungo, reports Travel Drafts. They're also used in bolo de ginguba, notes The Diasporic Dish, a peanut sponge cake with a caramel glaze. Peanuts also used to make kizaka, a vegetarian-friendly peanut stew that incorporates ground peanuts and cassava leaves, according to World Veg Kitchen.

The most versatile and arguably the easiest way to try peanut flavors in Angolan cuisine, however, is to spice up your peanut butter by making kitaba.

Kitaba kicks up the flavor in stews and snacks

According to Bon Appétit, kitaba is a paste made from roasted peanuts, sea salt, and Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, which lends to a mix of nutty, salty, and spicy flavors. It can be made at home by roasting (or air-frying) peanuts and blending them with the remaining ingredients. If you can't take the heat, don't worry — the amount of spice you add depends on your tolerance.

Kitaba is traditionally used in a variety of Angolan dishes that have a peanut base, including stews. One of the most iconic Angolan meals featuring kitaba is muamba de ginguba, a peanut and chicken stew that contains okra (via Bon Appétit). 

You don't have to cook a full meal if you want to try kitaba, however, as it's commonly eaten on its own as a snack. If your idea of a perfect Netflix and chill night includes rapidly downing spoonfuls of peanut butter, try replacing them with kitaba — you may be pleasantly surprised (and addicted).