Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Carne Diem
Origin: African, West African
Method: Stove top, smoker, or grillJump to Recipe
Made with veggies, yams, and creamy peanut butter, Groundnut Stew is a simple and mild West African dish that the whole family will enjoy.
Table of contents
What is Ground Nut Stew?
One of the purposes of this blog is to try to get people to be more adventurous in their eating and step outside their comfort zone. There are so many wonderful foods out there that people don't even give a second glance to because they are unfamiliar. Too many people "left swipe" right past fantastic international dishes, because they assume they are going to be bizarre or strange. I am so happy my friend pointed me to this childhood favorite recipe because it really represents a dish that, at a glance, may seem exotic. In preparation and execution, however, it is a dish the entire family will enjoy. The creamy texture, mild flavors, and underlying nutty flavor has made this a favorite for our kids.
This simple peanut stew (often referred to as ground nut stew or Domoda) is a staple food of several countries in West Africa including Gambia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. This particular recipe is based upon the version most commonly found in Ghana and was shared by a friend that grew up there.
Preparing and cooking the peanut stew
This recipe is made up of ingredients common to West African countries, including fresh tomatoes, onion, and yams. You will also need a handful of other common ingredients.
Fresh garlic cloves and ginger-Minced fresh garlic and ginger add some great flavor to the peanut soup.
Fresh chiles- We typically use jalapeno peppers for this West African peanut stew, because we try to keep it on the mild side so it is a recipe that the whole family can enjoy. Other options could include serrano pepper, or you can use habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers if you want a little more heat in the African dish.
Chicken Broth-Use a high-quality chicken stock or chicken broth for the African groundnut soup. If desired, you can substitute a high quality of homemade vegetable stock.
Peanut butter- In Western Africa they may use native groundnuts or fresh peanuts. However, even in Africa, peanut butter is commonly used. We find that creamy peanut butter works best in the West African stew recipe. We have had better results with natural peanut butter but use what you have available to you.
Tomato Sauce- We like the consistency that tomato sauce gives the dish. For a slightly thicker version of the West African peanut soup, you can substitute tomato purée or tomato paste.
Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
The recipe calls for true yams, though they can be difficult to find in the U.S. This is further complicated by the fact that, in the U.S. a lot of sweet potatoes are mislabeled as yams. You can blame a 1930's marketing campaign by farmers in Louisiana for the mix up as the name switch continues in markets even today.
A true yam will have more of a tough brown skin, almost resembling tree bark. In addition, its flesh is white, not orange. Yams also have more of a starchy taste as opposed to the sweet taste of a sweet potato. That said, they can be particularly difficult to find outside of some international and specialty markets, but if you can find them, use them! It you can't find them go ahead and use sweet potatoes but try to use a variety that is not overly sweet such as Hannah or purple varieties.
Prep your veggies and sauté
After dicing the onion, tomatoes, and jalapeno and preparing the rest of the ingredients, Add the cooking oil to a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the diced onions, garlic, and chili peppers until softened. This recipe is traditionally prepared with palm oil, but if you can't find it or do not want to use it, due to environmental concerns, you can use peanut oil, olive oil or canola oil as well.
After the onions are soft and translucent, stir in the cubed yams and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
Next, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and peanut butter. Increase to med-high heat and bring to a boil, then add the chicken and reduce to simmer.
For the chicken, keep it easy and use a rotisserie chicken that you have pulled. If you want an even more flavorful dish, try using our smoked Spatchcock Chicken. Other options include grilled chicken thighs or other precooked chicken.
Continue to simmer the ground nut stew until you reach your desired consistency then keep warm over low heat. We prefer a hearty stew that is slightly thickened and creamy. Taste the West African groundnut stew and season with salt and black pepper as desired.
Serving options for the groundnut stew
There are so many options to finish the dish. We love to serve the flavorful stew over white or brown rice with hard boiled eggs. You can also serve it in a bowl as more of a stew, topped with chopped peanuts. For an even more authentic version serve it up along with jollof rice, cooked collard greens and fried plantains.
If you are looking for a little bit spicier African dish, be sure to check out one of our favorite African curry dishes, Bunny Chow: South African Durban Style Chicken Curry Serve it up with some South African Sosaties: Lamb and Apricot Kebabs and Nigerian Party Rice: Wood Fired Jollof Rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Despite containing chiles, peanut stew is a mild dish that the entire family can enjoy.
We recommend using a natural creamy peanut butter in the recipe for the best results.
Groundnuts are peanuts. In Africa, they are often called groundnuts because they grow underground. Botanically speaking peanuts are not a true nut, but actually a legume.
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West African Ground Nut Stew
- Dutch oven or stock pot
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken or Whole Smoked Chicken
- 1.5 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 15 ounce Can Tomato Sauce
- 2 Yams, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks True Yams preferred over Sweet Potatoes
- 1 Yellow Onion diced
- 2 Tomatoes diced
- 5 Garlic Cloves minced
- 3 Tablespoon Chopped Ginger
- 1 Jalapeno diced
- 3 Tablespoons Palm Oil may substitute olive oil or canola oil
- Crushed Peanuts optional topping
- Hard Boiled Eggs-Sliced optional topping
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat then saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno until soft and translucent..
- Stir in the yams and ginger, and stir. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and peanut butter. Increase heat to med-high and bring to a boil, then add the chicken and reduce to simmer.
- Simmer to desired consistency. Serve on top of rice and top with crushed peanuts and slice hard boiled eggs.