I had a hard time naming this one so I resorted to word play and alliteration. Not being trained in any ethnic cuisine, I have been very into researching and learning how to make many of my favorite dishes left behind on the East Coast where I could literally find any ethnic food I wanted within miles. My favorite was an Ethiopian restaurant and this stew reminds me of the deep flavors and aromatics that permeated that dimly lit, traditional African restaurant.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to stop being afraid of cooking different ethnic cuisines of food and simply learn and try. If I fail, I fail, but in the culinary arts, even mistakes are teachers. And thankfully, this wasn’t a fail. This is hearty and full of protein and though I am a meat eater and use chicken thighs in this recipe, you can easily sub out chicken breasts or use no meat at all.
When I moved out of my home after college and in with my now-husband, my mother made me a binder with all of her recipes hand-written on index cards. It’s been almost ten years and I still use it almost daily. Flipping through it the other day, I came across a variation of an African Peanut Stew and filed it away in my head. This weekend I bought all the ingredients and put it on the menu for this week. Imagine my surprise when I went through my Google Reader and this recipe popped up: African Sweet Potato Stew at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.
So I took bits and pieces from both, researched a bunch of recipes online, and threw my own flair in it. I used the crockpot but you could use a soup pot as well. This came out thick and creamy, sweet and savory. The cardamom adds a earthy flavor offset by the creamy peanut butter and sweet butternut squash (which I used instead of sweet potato since I had that on hand but you could use either.)
I also used garam masala because it’s a combination of all the spices I was planning to use – how convenient!! It’s often used in Indian cuisine but works perfectly for this. If you don’t have it, you can make it using this recipe: or sub out the 4 tsp in the recipe with the following: 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
I wanted to serve this with injera – a sourdough crepe used to eat traditional Ethiopian fare but didn’t know enough about how they were made to try to make them gluten-free. Imagine my surprise when I Googled and researched and it turns out they are made from Teff flour – a main export from Ethiopia which is already a gluten-free grain! You can find it here through amazon: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Teff Flour and though I was unable to magically make it appear in my pantry tonight, I will definitely be making this next time I attempt African food which will likely be sooner rather than later!
African Chicken Chickpea Peanut Stew
What you need:
- 10 chicken thighs, cut into chunks (I like to do this while they’re still a little frozen)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 tsp garam masala
- 1 c. all-natural peanut butter (I used chunky but either works)
- 1/2 c. coconut milk
- 1 1/2 c. diced canned tomatoes
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 2 tsp. sucanat (non-refined organic dehydrated cane juice similar to brown sugar), sub equal amount honey
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2-3 c. cubed butternut squash (or sweet potato)
What you do:
- In a large saucepan, add the coconut oil on high. When fully melted, throw in the chicken pieces and quickly sear. Add in onion and garam masala and coat.
- Pour this into the crockpot and add the peanut butter, coating all the chicken.
- Add the rest of ingredients except the chickpeas and squash and set on low for 8-10 hours.
- In the last two hours, add in the chickpeas and squash.
- Garnish with chopped peanuts if you like.
This post submitted to Real Food Wednesday!