Monday, 22 December 2008

It must be the cold

that has me dreaming of Africa these days. In last nights dinner I used a combination of flavours and ingredients from the continent and combined them into another warming, satisfying and totally delicious stew.

It started as a West African Sweet Potato Stew, but I used Ethiopian spices (and some more of the Niter Kebbeh I have left), added Lentils and Chickpeas (North African staples), some coconut milk from tropical East Africa, and finished it back in West Africa with some peanut (ground nut) butter.

It looks a little like slop, stews do often tend to don't they, but let me assure you that H and I both found it super delicious. The recipe makes enough for 4 if served with sides but we didn't have anything but rice and demolished the lot! I still have a little Niter Kebbeh left so I may continue this African kick a little longer. I'm thinking maybe stir fried Millet? Anyhow, here's the stew recipe...

African Sweet Potato Stew
Serves 4

2 T Niter Kebbeh
3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
2 Shallot – finely chopped
1 T fresh Ginger – grated
1 stalk Celery – finely chopped
1 Sweet Potato (2½ C) – chopped into 1 cm cubes
1 C Red Lentils
1 C cooked Chickpeas
1 t Cumin
½ t Fenugreek
½ t Paprika
½ t Cardamom
¼ t Turmeric
¼ t Allspice
¼ t Nutmeg
¼ t Cinnamon
1 C Coconut Milk
2 C Vegetable Stock
1 C Water
1 T Peanut Butter
1 T Tapioca Flour
3 T Water

In a large soup pot, heat the Niter Kebbeh. Add the garlic, shallots, ginger and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add in the sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas, herbs and spices then sauté for 1 minute more to combine.
Add in the coconut milk, stock and cup of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer and cook, partially covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, tapioca flour and small amount of water to make a smooth paste. Scoop a little, about ¼ cup, of the cooking liquid from the pot and add to the bowl. Combine well so paste stays smooth. Add paste to pot and stir well to combine with the stew.
Turn off the heat and stand, covered, for 10 minutes prior to serving.

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