Some versions are soupy with ingredients cut small and others, as here, are more chunky. Although peanuts originated in the New World (it’s thought Peru is their native country), West Africa has it’s own indigenous species of ‘ground nut’, which pre-dates the introduction of the peanut.
Ubiquitous across West Africa in countries such as Senegal, Gambia and Mali, this stew takes on many guises. The meat, vegetable and spice components are all variable so feel free to experiment, using sweet potatoes, cabbage, beef, fish, eggplant or a dash of cayenne, as the mood strikes you – the dish can also be entirely meat-free.
- 100 ml peanut oil
- 8 chicken drumsticks (about 1.6kg)
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 2½ tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ tsp ground fenugreek
- 70 g (¼ cup) tomato paste
- 6 whole cloves
- 8 dried chillies
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 280 g (1 cup) smooth peanut butter
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock or water, approximately
- 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 large red capsicum, trimmed, seeded and cut into 2cm pieces
- 400 g small okra, trimmed and halved lengthways
- 2 medium red chillies, trimmed and thinly sliced
- chopped roasted peanuts
- coriander leaves
- lime wedges
- steamed rice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning often, for about 8 minutes or until golden all over.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the ground spices and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant then add the tomato paste, cloves, chillies, cinnamon and bay leaves and cook for another minute. Add the peanut butter and half the stock, stirring until the mixture is smooth, then add the remaining stock, the tomatoes, capsicum and chicken drumsticks. Bring the mixture to a simmer, adding a little more stock or water to just cover the chicken if necessary. Cover the pan then cook over low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture catching on the base of the pan.
Add the okra and cook for another 20 minutes or until the okra is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Season well with salt then scatter over the red chilli. Serve the chicken stew scattered with chopped roasted peanuts and coriander leaves, with steamed rice and lime wedges.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.