West Africans use a lot more red pepper and hot peppers than one finds in soul food. Even Nigerian Chicken Soup calls for ½ teaspoon of ground red pepper and Okra Soup calls for 2 small hot green peppers. So it is no surprise that Chicken Groundnut Stew (Stewed Chicken with Peanut and Tomato Sauce) has red pepper, white pepper - and hot chillies. It's not for the faint of heart, but it is a savory introduction to West African cooking.


5- to 6-pound chicken, cut and chopped into 12 or more pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ cup peanut oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
5 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped and pur
éed with a food mill
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup dried ground shrimp
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon finely grated ginger root
½ teaspoon ground hot red pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
6 cups boiling water
¼ cup coarsely crumbled dried anchovies, (available in Asian markets)
2 whole fresh hot chillies, each about 3 inches long
1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup cold water beaten to a smooth paste
12 large fresh okra, washed and stemmed, or 12 frozen okra
6 hard-cooked eggs


Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels. Combine the salt and ground ginger, and rub the mixture evenly over each piece of chicken. In a heavy 5- to 6-quart casserole, heat the oil over moderate heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Brown the chicken in the hot oil, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, turning the pieces frequently with tongs and regulating the heat so they colour richly and evenly without burning. As they brown, transfer the pieces to a plate. Discard all but about 1/4 cup of the oil remaining in the pan and drop in the chopped onions. Stirring frequently and scraping the browned particles from the bottom of the pan, cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add the puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, ground shrimp, garlic, ginger root, red pepper and white pepper. Raise the heat to high and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, pour in the boiling water in a thin stream and add the dried anchovies and the whole chillies. Return the chicken and any liquid accumulated around it to the casserole, and turn the pieces with a spoon until they are evenly coated. Cook uncovered over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter paste and the okra, and continue cooking uncovered until the chicken is tender and the dark meat shows no resistance when pierced with the point of a small, sharp knife. Add the hard-cooked eggs and simmer 4 or 5 minutes or until the eggs are heated through. Serve the stew at once, directly from the casserole or mounded attractively in a heated bowl or deep platter, accompanied by as many garnishes as you like.

Garnishes can be ½ cup finely chopped onions; 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple; ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts; spiced okra; avocado salad with ginger; fried plantain cubes, diced ripe papaya or diced tomato salad.


Serves 6.


area : West Africa

course : poultry dish


source : African Cooking: Foods of the World, through Mary-Anne