West African peanut stew


This recipe is an adaptation of many that I’ve seen, a lot of these call for sweet potato to be boiled in the sauce.  I prefer to bake the sweet potatoes in advance, then pan fry them before adding the sauce and greens.  The reason for this is that you can focus your attention on making a really deep and rich sauce, which can be frozen to reduce waste, and make it a quick and easy recipe for next time.  It also means you can always add and not overcook fresh greens of any kind.

Spiciness is dependent on how much chilli you choose to add.  This can be entirely chilli free, but a little does add a lot.I really struggle to make anything less than 30 portions now I work in a restaurant, so this is my attempt at bringing this down to a home cooking amount (maybe 6 portions).

People are very concerned about nutrition in vegan food, as we have been taught to believe we need meat, and protein is sold to us as something we can’t get enough of, although in reality, most people are having more than enough, and took much animal-based protein has even been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer. So for that reason, from now on, I will try to include a little detail about the nutritional content of dishes.  In terms of nutrition, this is a great dish.  You have some nice plant-based protein coming from the peanut butter, and a little from the sweet potato and greens.  You have tonnes of fibre from the sweet potato and greens, and from the peanut butter if you use something like whole earth peanut butter, as the skin is left on the peanuts.  Sweet potato is a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium, as well as vitamins B5 & 6 (although in lower amounts.  The spring greens are full of vitamins C & K and are also a great plant based source of iron, which is more beneficial than the iron you get in animal flesh as your body absorbs it more easily.  They are also a source of calcium which does not cause acidity in the body, and therefore doesn’t cause depletion like animal sources do.  The garlic is great for heart health, the ginger for digestive health….and on and on…. This is good.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium white onions, finely sliced in half moons
6 cloves garlic, minced
40g ginger, skin on, chopped finely or grated (try to make sure all the juice gets in the pan)
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tube tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 cup or 340/350g peanut butter (yes, it’s vegan, but do double check in the ingredients)
800ml stock (use 2 Kallo cubes or similar dissolved in water)
1 whole spring green cabbage, or 1 bag kale, or 2 bags spinach, or a mix of all three (basically, a lot of dark, leafy greens, if you are using spring or collard greens, wash and chiffon them)
As many sweet potatoes as you want to reast (i.e. snough to make the ‘bulk’ of this meal – I think 2 small/medium ones each is PLENTY)
1/2 a bunch coriander
Salt & pepper


  1. Get sweet potatoes in to roast, so, wash them, pull those weird strands off, put them into a big roasting tray, drizzle olive oil over them and season the skins with salt. Rub em.  Get the oven to 200c ish, and put them in, it’s going to take maybe 45 min/ an hour.  You’ll know when they are done because they will be soft to touch.
  2. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, make the sauce.  Heat the oil in the biggest pan you can find.  Bigger is better.  If you have a cauldron, totally use that.  Once the oil is hot, add all of the onion, they need to sizzle, add about a tsp of salt. Stir that.  fry on high for 2 mins, stirring, then get the heat as low as it will go, and stick a lid on.  This is essential.  You want colourless, sweet, breaking-apart-soft onions.  This is so important for flavour.  It should take around 20 mins to cook like this on the lowest heat.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Keep the heat low, and give these 5 minutes with the lid on. Add the cumin and stir, cook whilst stirring until you smell it. Add the tomato puree, and raise the heat just a little, cook until the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
  4. Add the peanut butter. YES! Watch that melt. Get that stirred smooth.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, and half the stock.  It should make a medium thickness sauce.  I don’t know how to describe this better, so, just do it how you like it.
  6. p.s. are those potatoes ok?
  7. Season the sauce by tasting it and let it simmer.  The longer it has to cook, the more the flavour will develop.

So, that’s your sauce done…now, you need some greens and sweet potato.

  1. Once the jacket sweet potatoes are cooked, you have the option of using them with or without the skin.  In this dish, I tend to opt for removing the skin and quartering the potato.
  2. In a pan with a dash of oil, I fry the flat surfaces of the sweet potato.  Once there is a little caramelisation, I add a ladle of sauce, and then the washed sliced greens.  You want the greens gently wilted. DONE. Serve that.


I like to put it in a massive bowl, garnish it with fresh coriander and toasted peanuts. Other options include a squeeze of lime, a little coconut alpro yoghurt, a scoop of brown rice, a flatbread.  Enjoy. xxx














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