Dinner Time in Borneo

It’s dinner time. The setting equatorial sun—every day the same time all year long—and my three kids tell me it’s time. And if the “I’m so hungry, Mama” over and over didn’t clue me in, the nearby mosque’s evening call to prayer does.

Today’s dinner is rice and groundnut stew. It’s one of Brad’s favorites and I’m thankful for rice he brought me from a kind friend from a remote Borneo village, and for recipes that use all local ingredients. I’m also thankful that the electricity stayed on while I cooked and that I didn’t run out of gas for the stove tonight.


“Ooh, looks good, Babe,” Brad says, scooping rice onto kids’ plates as we sit outside on the back porch.

He’s done with his long day flying in the jungles, and yet still has patience for the chaos around the table. And sometimes I wonder at the adventures he experiences. The lives he might have saved that day. The excitement the village kids show when his little plane speeds down the grass runway. The mountains he knows by names like Alligator Mountain.

My day was full, too. There was my kindergartener to homeschool, the baby to hold while he tried to rip pages from the math book, and the 3-year-old’s endless questions to answer.

dinnertimeNow our family sits outside at dinner time next to bougainvillea blooms and palm trees I planted years ago. A slight breeze is blowing and it’s only one hour until the kids’ bedtime. This is my favorite time of the day, even as the baby throws food at me and everyone wants something all at the same time.

Brad points out a teeny tiny bug with white legs that is crawling on his arm. It looks prehistoric and maybe if I’d just gotten here, I would’ve grabbed a camera. But I don’t think about it anymore, about how this life is amazing and adventurous and special.

It’s just dinner time, after all. And I’m hungry.

Recipe for Groundnut Stew:

recipe (2)1/4 cup oil
1 large onion
6 tomatoes
1 chicken
4 chicken bouillon
1 minced garlic clove
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

mandarin orange
diced tomatoes
roasted groundnuts
chopped boiled eggs

Sauté chopped onion in oil with garlic. Blend tomatoes in blender, add to pot. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add meat bouillon, tomato paste, seasoning, a little bit of water, and peanut butter. Simmer 1 hour. Taste stew and adjust spices and peanut butter. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes. Serve over rice.

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  • janet says:

    Thank you for sharing your dinner and some of what you did in your day. Very different to ours. 🙂

  • Glenda Hopkins says:

    I got such a kick out of the picture of the family – especially Evan’s silly antics! If that picture is one of yours, that dish looks good enough to eat right off the screen!

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