Peanuts are very popular in West African cuisine and this chicken stew comes from Ghana. Peanuts can be added to meat casseroles or steamed vegetables and they are highly nutritious as well. Ground peanuts are used to thicken this dish- peanut butter, which is easy to find, is used in the recipe. Alternatively, you can make your own peanut butter by roasting raw peanuts in their skins in the oven, rubbing the cooled, cooked nuts until the skins come off, and then placing the (skinless) peanuts in the blender and blending until a paste is formed. Very easy! Ground nut stew is one of those dishes that is simple yet so tasty. Everyone will wonder why they never thought of it themselves!
One whole chicken, cut into portions
One large onion
Two cloves garlic
One knob ginger root (or one teaspoon ginger powder)
Two tablespoons tomato purée
Four tablespoons smooth peanut butter
One teaspoon chilli flakes
Handful whole roasted peanuts
Salt and pepper
Flour for dusting
Heat around two tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, dust the chicken is plain flour. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken pieces in the hot oil in a single layer- you may need to repeat this process a few times in order to brown all the chicken. Brown the chicken pieces- around four minutes per side.
While you are browning the chicken, peel and chop the onion finely. Fry the onion in the same pan as the chicken, until brown around the edges – 5 minutes.
Peel and chop the garlic cloves and ginger root (if using).
When the onion is cooked sufficiently, add the garlic and ginger - toss for twenty seconds. Add the chicken, tomato purée, chilli flakes salt and pepper. Add the peanut paste, stir to combine and two to three cups of water. Stir the sauce well to incorporate the peanut butter. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for around 45 minutes until the chicken falls away from the bone. The sauce should be thick and creamy. If the sauce is not sufficiently thick, uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium until enough liquid evaporates. Do not wander away as the sauce could easily burn. Stay close by and keep an eye on the pot!
Serve the groundnut stew with plain boiled rice and salad of your choice. Garnish the stew with the crushed peanuts. (To crush peanuts, place in a plastic bag and thwack the bag with a rolling pin until the nuts break up.)
Tip: why not try a vegetarian version of this dish as well? Instead of using chicken, why not just make the sauce and serve with steamed or roasted vegetables? Omit the chicken from the recipe, then purée the peanut-based sauce and pour over the cooked vegetables. Or you can use the same recipe with tofu instead of meat. Reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes only but follow exactly the same steps.