Saturday, October 13, 2012

Almond "Groundnut" Stew - West African Style

While living in Ghana, we enjoyed many new flavors and tried some new dishes. We often made many of our own stews without meat at home so we could enjoy what was common there. A West African meal, groundnut stew is surprisingly good. We enjoyed this last evening with two friends, one was vegetarian and one was not. They both really liked it.

My version is vegetarian and uses almond butter instead of the typical peanut butter (aka, "groundnuts"). It puts unique flavors together that our American palettes don't understand... until we taste it. Most often served with steamed rice, it is also very good with boiled medium ripe plantains (a type of banana that is cooked). For toppings, you may also put out other fresh chopped tomatoes, green onions, coconut (etc. - like for curry condiments). Slices of avocado or banana, on the side, would be enjoyed by those more sensitive to the spiciness of this dish.

The three flavors, that were often used together in Ghana, are hot pepper, fresh ginger, and garlic. These are the stars in this stew, along with tomatoes, onions and, of course, almond butter (or more commonly, peanut butter). It is my recommendation that you use only "natural" peanut or almond butter without sweeteners or oils or other ingredients. I made my own almond butter just before I added it to the stew last evening (2 cups whole almonds in the food processor, about 10 minutes, makes about 1 cup almond butter).

Almond "Groundnut" Stew

1 Tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil)
2 cups chopped onion (red is more authentic)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon peeled and minced, fresh ginger root

cayenne pepper to taste (or chopped fresh hot pepper, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
1 teaspoon chili power (optional)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or use canned tomatoes)
1-2 eggplant, chopped (optional)  *called "garden egg" in Ghana
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)

More optional ingredients: (add with tomatoes)
10 whole okra
1/2 cup chopped sweet potato

In a large saucepan, saute onions, garlic and fresh ginger in oil for a few minutes. Add seasonings. After a minute or so, add in tomatoes, optional vegetables, salt and water. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. In a separate bowl, or larger-than-needed heat proof measuring cup (I use a 2 cup glass liquid measuring cup), mix peanut butter (or almond butter) and about another equal part of hot liquid from the stew (I use a ladle to get some from the pot) together with a whisk. When mixed well, add it slowly to the pot and simmer another 15 minutes or so. Adjust salt and seasonings as needed.

This would make a good choice for a crock pot meal and will be very freezer friendly after it has been cooked and cooled.


Kristen said...

It was delicious!!!!

Loretta said...

I'm glad you guys were over that night. We always enjoy having you share with us. Shalom.