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Mamba (Spicy Haitian Peanut Butter)

September 18, 2017
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

In the States, there are generally two peanut butter camps: sweetened, so it’s satiney like frosting, and unsweetened, so the natural oils slop and splash. In Haiti, there’s another camp— spicy!—and it’s called mamba (the Creole word for peanut butter) and usually eaten with toast or cassava crackers.

f you add some brown sugar and kosher salt, you’ll have a mamba that jelly can get excited about (try it paired with apricot).

Or try it in banana smoothies, nut butter cups, seedy granola, crisscross cookies, and ice cream. I love mamba as a way to offset sweetness.

But it’s just as good in savory contexts, anywhere you would use natural peanut butter or tahini. Think sesame noodles, peanut stew, even hummus or snack mix.

Featured in: The Spicy-Hot Peanut Butter Your PB&J is Longing For, —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound shelled raw peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Morton’s)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pour the peanuts onto a sheet tray lined with parchment or a Silicone baking mat. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, checking frequently toward the end to make sure they don’t burn. Cool completely.
  2. Add the peanuts to a colander and set over your lined sheet tray. Use your hand to stir, stir, stir—the skins should gradually fall through the holes—until the peanuts are naked. You might want to listen to some music or turn on the TV.
  3. Plop the coconut oil into a small skillet over medium heat. When it’s melted and hot, add the cayenne and smoked paprika and remove the pan from the heat. Swirl until fragrant—this will take a matter of seconds—then quickly pour into another dish to prevent burning.
  4. Add the peanuts to a food processor and process for about a minute. At this point, the mixture should be crumbly and clumpy. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and mix around to redistribute. Add the chili oil, salt, and brown sugar. Continue to process for about a minute more until a smooth nut butter forms, scraping as needed.
  5. Taste and adjust, adding more salt, sugar, and cayenne as you see fit. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stephen Lamphear
    Stephen Lamphear
  • Regine
  • Tina Heaney
    Tina Heaney
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Lazyretirementgirl
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

11 Reviews

Stephen L. December 25, 2017
So, 'cuz I'm a lazy American white boy, I use a high-quality real peanut butter, like Adams, rather roast my own peanuts, etc. etc.

I use the same real peanut butter to make a spicy dipping sauce for Asian style chicken wings and crispy veggies.
Regine October 9, 2017
“Cooking in HMB,” recipe asks for cayenne pepper not chili oil.
Cooking I. October 9, 2017
How much chili oil should be added. Want to give this a try, sounds amazing.
Emma L. October 10, 2017
Hi Cooking HMB, the chili oil refers to the coconut oil, cayenne, and smoked paprika mixture. So, add all of that!
Stephen L. December 25, 2017
Thnx. That should be noted in the recipe. I was confused also.
Regine September 26, 2017
Oh my. I am Haitian American and I love Mamba. Some are spicy and some are not. I of course prefer the former. I have an aunt who lives in Haiti and she always makes sure that anytime my father is visiting Haiti she makes some for him to bring to the states. It is delicious with white bread, cassava, crackers, you name it. My father and I love to eat a mamba sandwich with sips of some good and very sweet Haitian coffee.
spiffypaws September 24, 2017
Just a quick read tells me this is going to be wonderful!
Tina H. September 24, 2017
I do believe I need this in my life!
judy September 23, 2017
I'll give this a try. I make a nice Asian one that is great with grape jelly, or chicken!
Lazyretirementgirl November 5, 2017
Please explain the Asian peanut butter. I would love to know.
Stephen L. December 25, 2017
Me, too!!!!