African peanut stew is perhaps one of the most popular dishes with multiple methods of preparation as a result of regional and traditional culinary influences. In general, the stew may be thought of as some sort of a sauce typically served over a starch dish and is usually made using groundnuts, tomatoes, a variety of vegetables, and most often including some chicken or other meats. The added ingredients vary by region, and could include root vegetables such as yams, several greens, and also many different spices. African cooks are generally known to ladle the groundnut stew over a cereal-base of rice, millet, couscous or even sweet potatoes. Just like the ingredients that form part of the groundnut stew, the starch it is served with, as well as the condiments that accompany it, is all determined by the region to which it belongs.
The African Peanut or Groundnut stew often appears as a featured dish of the celebration feast to commemorate the American festival of Kwanzaa that was initiated as a way of celebrating the African-American heritage.
Traditional West African Peanut Stew
- peanut oil
- chopped red onion
- minced garlic cloves
- chopped fresh ginger
- chicken, cut into chunks (optional)
- crushed red pepper, or to taste
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- chicken stock
- sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
- chopped tomatoes, with liquid
- kale or collard greens, roughly chopped
- chunky peanut butter
- Peanut oil is heated in a large pot; the onion, garlic, and ginger are sautéed in the hot oil until softened. Then the chicken is added and browned. It is seasoned with crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Chicken stock is poured over the mixture. Next, the sweet potatoes are stirred into the liquid and brought to boil; the pot is covered and simmered for few minutes.
- Finally the tomatoes along with collard greens, and peanut butter are stirred into the stew. Cooking is continued, with occasional stirring.
A serving size of ~ 450 g provides-
- 731 calories with 394 calories from fat
- 43.8 g total fat, 7.7 g saturated fat; 70 mg cholesterol
- 44.9 g total carbohydrates with 14.5 g sugar and 11.1 g dietary fiber
- 1567 mg sodium and 1303 mg potassium
- 45.5 g protein
- Good source of Vitamins A, C, B-vitamins, folate; minerals calcium, iron and magnesium.
This dish can have infinite variations in terms of cooking oil, choice of vegetables used, meat and spices incorporated. It may be made purely vegetarian or even vegan by replacing chicken with garbanzo beans and chicken broth with vegetable broth. Also, its protein value can be upped by serving it over quinoa.
It is thought that groundnuts were introduced to America by the enslaved Africans who carried them; further there exist records of slaves preparing soups, stews and numerous other dishes using groundnuts during that same time period.
African-Americans often prepare and serve groundnut stew for Kwanzaa as a symbolic way of celebrating this legume's association to their own African roots. Moreover, it is revered for its sustaining presence all through the brutal days of suffering and slavery in this country.