I haven’t cooked a lot of African food before but as soon as I saw this West African Peanut Stew I knew I had to make it. It can also be called African Peanut Butter Soup depending on the consistency of the finished dish. I immediately asked a friend from Ghana for a recipe/tips and decided on the next rainy day this was my go to meal. In a lot of ways it reminds me of an American style chili, but I actually think I like this one more!
Of course the name comes from one of the main ingredients, peanut butter. While you can use creamy or crunchy, I absolutely recommend getting something 100% peanut butter, rather than a mix of peanuts and various oils/flavorings.
You’ll also need to get a yam which is one of the most popular West African ingredients in tons of different recipes. The awesome thing about yams are that they pretty much last forever. You can buy a few and just leave them out until you need to use them. For this stew I used about 1kg of cubed yam, which was about 60% of the whole yam I bought.
West African Peanut Butter Stew Ingredients
1 kg Yam, cubed
2 inches Ginger, grated
1/2 Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic; chopped
1 liter Beef Stock. You can actually use whatever stock is convenient, I had some spicy beef stock left over after making my Tacos de Lengua, and felt it would be perfect in this recipe.
250 grams Peanut Butter, 100%
100 grams Tomato Paste
2 Chicken Breasts
1 tbsp Chili Powder, more or less for your desired spiciness level
50 grams Peanuts, whole or chopped
1 handful Cilantro, rough chop
Olive Oil, as needed
Note: I don’t add salt or pepper to the ingredients list because my stock is already quite salty and I felt it didn’t need more. You can absolutely adjust your salt levels to your preferences. For pepper I felt the chili powder provided enough spiciness so that black pepper wasn’t needed. Again, feel free to add some if you want.
How To Make West African Peanut Stew
I call this a stew because I like it nice and thick, but some people would say it is a soup. That just means they add more water or stock to thin it out. This recipe is for 10 servings (with rice) but if you wanted to extend it then you could just add more liquid.
To start, prepare the ingredients needed. I grate the ginger using my microplane since I think it releases the flavor into the finished dish the best. However you can use a regular grater or just chop it up finely with a knife.
For the onion I just did a standard dice. The preparation of ingredients for this West African peanut stew is actually really easy, with most of the effort going towards peeling the yam.
Start by heating up a pot or dutch oven with a couple glugs of olive oil. You can use any oil you prefer, I just happened to have some olive oil I wanted to use up. Slowly saute the onion on low heat, and then add the ginger and garlic. Mix everything around a bit until fragrant.
Next, add the cubed yam and give the pot a good mix. You want the yam to mix with the onion, garlic, and ginger oil. Finally Add in your stock until it is about an inch from the top. I am using a 2.6L dutch oven by Emile Henry so one liter of stock was the perfect amount with all the ingredients. If your pot is bigger or smaller, adjust to suit. Once you add in all the stock give the pot a good mix to ensure nothing has stuck to the bottom and then turn the heat up high.
Once the pot begins to boil add in the chili powder, peanut butter and tomato paste. Give the pot a good mix and cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Again, make sure to scrape the bottom to ensure nothing sticks, since that will cause the stew to burn.
Next add the chicken breasts directly to the pot. Make sure they are entirely covered in liquid and then turn the heat back down to the lowest setting. Put the lid back on and let cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes pull the chicken breasts out and shred them with two forks (they should shred extremely easily). Add the shredded chicken back in and simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes.
Finally add some spinach and mix it all in there. You can add any leafy green you like such as kale, collard greens, or more, I just happened to have a bunch of spinach left I wanted to use up.
Et Voila. Turn off the heat and you have successfully made a West African style peanut butter stew. It is super hearty and filling, and a great way to explore culturally diverse and ethnic food. I like to serve this peanut stew with rice and then top it with some chopped peanuts and cilantro for added crunch and flavor.
What You’ll Need
Here is a list of some recommended kitchen tools to make this West African Peanut Stew.
Dutch Oven/Pot – Because we are making a stew after all. I used my Emile Henry 2.6L Dutch Oven which was the perfect size for this recipe.
Microplane – I find a microplane is better for the ginger than a standard grater.
Chef’s Knife – Probably the most useful kitchen tool available, here I use it to chop the garlic and dice the onion, as well as peel the tough skin off the yam.
Forks – Because they are the best at shredding the cooked chicken breasts.
The bowl featured in the pictures is my absolutely gorgeous Churchill Stonecast Triangle bowl, available on Amazon. It has also been featured in my popular Massaman Curry and Brussels Sprouts With Bacon And Shallot recipe!
West African Peanut Stew
- Dutch Oven / Pot
- Microplane (recommended)
- 1 kg Yam cubed
- 2 inches Ginger grated
- 1/2 Onion diced
- 5 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 liter Beef Stock. You can actually use whatever stock is convenient. I had some spicy beef stock left over after making my Tacos de Lengua, and felt it would be perfect in this recipe.
- 250 grams Peanut Butter 100%
- 100 grams Tomato Paste
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder more or less for your desired spiciness level
- 100 grams Spinach or your preferred leafy green like kale or collard greens
- 50 grams Peanuts whole or chopped
- 1 handful Cilantro rough chop
- Olive Oil as needed
- In a pot on low heat add the olive oil and allow to heat up.
- Add in the onion and saute for a bit, until it starts to get translucent. Then add in the ginger and garlic and give everything a good mix. When everything becomes super fragrant (after about a minute) add in the yams and stir the pot well.
- Add in the stock, mix everything, and then turn the heat up to a boil.
- Once boiling add in the chili powder, tomato paste, and peanut butter and give everything a good mix. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
- Add the chicken breasts directly into the stew and put on the lid. Let braise for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken breasts and shred them with two forks. If they do not shred easily then add them back in the pot for another 10 minutes. Reintroduce the shredded chicken to the stew and simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes.
- Add in the spinach or your preferred leafy green and give the pot a good stir. Turn off the heat and serve with rice. Sprinkle over some chopped peanuts and cilantro for extra flavor and presentation.