“My mother lifted the heavy lid of a pot full of red stew so she could dump in a large plate of roasted chicken wings. My stomach grumbled at the sight of it all. With all the delicious exotic foods I’d eaten and prepared in my dorm kitchen on Oomza Uni, nothing compared to a simple plate of spiced rice and spicy red stew with chicken.”
–Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor
Like many people who live in this area, I’ve had few opportunities to eat food from the African continent. But when Nnedi Okorafor wrote about the native food of the Himba tribe in Namibia with such warmth, I knew that I had to seek out a recipe that would be similar to the red stew and rice that she wrote about in Binti: The Complete Trilogy.
I was worried that I wouldn’t find much on the cuisine of Western Africa. Luckily, the Orem Library had the cookbook, The Soul of A New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson had both a recipe for a chicken spicy red stew and a recipe for spiced rice. Check out the recipe book for the complete Chicken Peanut Stew recipe.
Note: You can substitute habaneros for Scotch bonnet chilies and serranos or jalapenos for bird’s eye peppers.
Chicken Peanut Stew
- 2 medium white onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Scotch bonnet chillies, cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
- One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 white peppercorns
- 4 cups water
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 cups peanuts
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound spinach, tough stems removed, washed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbl ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 red bird’s-eye pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 2 ears corn, shucked and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 2 ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 yellow tomato, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 mango peeled pitted and cut into ½ inch dice (about one cup)
- Yellow bell pepper, cored, seeds and ribs removed and cut in ¼ inch dice
- 1 Tb chopped chives
- Ground pepper
As far as how hot I like my dishes, I prefer medium for Mexican dishes, and mild for Thai and Indian dishes. So I was a little concerned about the hot chilies. Instead of using 2 habaneros, I used half of one for the stew. I used a full serrano for the rice. This was sufficient heat for me; you may want to adjust the amount of chilies to your liking.
This meal was a solid win for our family. No one ingredient was overpowering, and we like the complexity of the different flavors. We’ll have to try this one again.
Review by Heather