African Vegan Peanut Stew

Rachel Ama's recipe for African Peanut Stew is a flavour-packed vegan dish, filled with fresh and delicious veggies and a good kick of chilli. It's a comforting, crowd-pleasing dish, perfect for a weekend feast with friends.

Introduction

My mum spent many summers in Sierra Leone, where her dad comes from, and this peanut stew was one of her favourite dishes. She usually had it with chicken, but when I made this plant-based version for her to try, she had the biggest smile on her face. This recipe is a definite winner in our house, perfect for when you want a really hearty and comforting dinner with a nice touch of spice to set your taste buds tingling. My favourite way to eat this is with plantains and coleslaw (see pages 174 and 155 of Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats) or a light fresh salad.

Scotch bonnet chillies can be really hot depending on where they’re from and how ripe they are. For a more gentle heat, you can place half a Scotch bonnet – deseeded but not cut up – into the stew to cook, then simply remove it before serving. This way the chilli flavour can infuse the stew but without adding too much heat. This is a great option if you are new to this quite fiery chilli pepper.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp peanut oil
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 x 400g tin black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
½ fresh red Scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and kept whole (optional)
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
125g natural smooth peanut butter
200g spinach, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
A handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
Salt and black pepper
For the paste:
2 onions, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fenugreek
½-1 fresh red Scotch bonnet chilli (to taste), deseeded and roughly chopped
A pinch salt

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor and a large, heavy-based saucepan or shallow frying pan.

Instructions

Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz into a coarse paste.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large, heavybased saucepan or shallow frying pan. Add the paste and sauté over a medium–low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more oil if the paste starts to stick to the pan.

Add the sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, Scotch bonnet chilli (if using – see introduction) and tomato purée and mix to combine. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, add the peanut butter, season with salt and pepper and stir in well. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, leaving it to wilt in the pan for 5 minutes. To finish, add the lemon juice, coriander, spring onions and sliced chillies and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

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