As a Canadian, I don’t like to get confused with being an American. So, I wonder whether it is offensive to call this an African dish? I mean Africa is a big place, with a lot of variation from country to country, and here I am lumping this dish with the whole continent. :P I am not worried about offending anyone because this dish was so delicious that every country should be fighting to claim it as their own. :)
Despite recently travelling to Morocco (more about that later!), I am no expert in African cuisine. I didn’t come across any peanut stew in Morocco. A bit of research tells me peanut (or groundnut) stews are typical of sub-Saharan cuisine. I recently made an African pineapple, kale and peanut stew, and was intrigued to try peanut butter in a savoury dish again. Adapted from Vegan Planet, this is a delicious vegetable stew. Again, we have a nice mixture of sweet from the sweet potatoes and tomato, with the salty and smooth from the peanut butter, with a touch of heat from chili flakes, ginger and garlic. Cumin and cinnamon make this a savoury dish indeed. Red kidney beans add substance and I enjoyed their mouth feel (I had forgotten how much I like kidney beans – it has been too long!).
In fact, with only 2 tbsp for the entire dish, the peanut butter is not a dominant flavour. I felt like it was more to add creaminess but occasionally I would get a hit of the peanut butter. I don’t think it mixed in as well as I had thought. My advice is to add to taste, mix it well, but you don’t need much. Another nut butter could easily be substituted.
African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, deseeded and chopped (I used red but the recipe calls for green)
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 & 1/2 lbs sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups cooked red kidney beans (or 19 oz can)
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)
salt, to taste
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and add onion. Fry for 5 minutes, until softened.
2. Add garlic and bell pepper, fry, stirring regularly for 5 minutes.
3. Add spices, tomatoes and vegetable stock.
4. Add sweet potatoes. At this point the sauce should be quite thin and runny – it will thicken up once the peanut butter is added.
5. Cook for 30 minutes, covered, until sweet potato is soft.
6. Add kidney beans, and heat them through.
7. Pour the peanut butter into the pan, and heat through. The sauce will now thicken slightly. Taste, and add salt as necessary.
8. Serve with dry roasted peanuts sprinkled on top if desired, with couscous or your favourite grain on the side.