This is my go-to food for those days I want something comforting and filling. A staple food in many African homes – which of course, varies from country to country and home to home but to simply put, it’s seasoned chicken (or meat) cooked in a rich and deeply flavoured tomato sauce. I often get asked ‘If there is one meal I would have to eat for the rest of my life what would it be?’ And my answer? rice and stew.
Why? Once you try this recipe you’ll know. 😉
Notes before cooking:
For this recipe I like to steam the chicken which also makes the chicken broth/stock for the stew. Sometimes, I like to brown the chicken first by frying it in little oil but the method I’m using works perfectly with the boiler chicken also known as hen which is slightly leaner and tougher than the ones I buy at the supermarket. The most important thing about this recipe is that it is slightly healthier because I am using very little oil, and .
For the chicken:
Simply season the chicken using the ingredients list below (and adjust to your preference if you like) and prop onto the fire using a stock pot and leave to cook on medium to low heat for 30 minutes. If you’re using the hen aka boiler chicken, leave an extra 15 minutes to cook to ensure that the meat is not too tough. This method can be used for beef, oxtail or any other meat of your choice.
- 1 whole chicken (hen) cut into pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you. I also ask to remove the fat but this is optional).
- Wash the chicken in lemon water (Use 1 lemon or alternatively tablespoon of salt or vinegar).
- Rinse with water and Pat dry.
- 1 Large onion quartered
- 2 whole scotch bonnets pierced
- 3 fresh sprigs of Thyme or a Teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 thumb sized fresh ginger cut in half
- 2 whole Garlic cloves (1/2 tablespoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (or 2 stock cubes)
- 3 bay leaves
- Pimento seeds (optional)
- 1 cup Water
Method: Place all in a pot and cook on medium to low heat for 30mins once it is done take the chicken pieces out, scotch bonnet and onion pieces. Pour the stock through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
Cooked Chicken Pieces and stock.
- Vegetable Oil (2 cooking spoons) or 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil.
- 2 tins of chopped tomato
- scotch bonnet from chicken broth
- 1 red bell pepper (optional)
- 1 Large onion thinly sliced
- 2 Maggie cubes or salt (Aromat would also make a perfect seasoning)
- 1 Maggi shrimp cube or tsp of shrimp paste (optional)
- 1 tsp Curry powder
- 1 tsp thyme
Pour the tin tomatoes into a blender or food processor, if you don’t have either simply pour the tin tomatoes into the pot (but we’ll get to that shortly).
Add the steamed scotch bonnets and onions from the chicken broth to the blender along with red bell pepper, blend and set aside.
In a pot add the oil, I use vegetable oil because it has a way of frying the stew, alternatively you can use 3 table spoons of olive oil or coconut oil, the latter being a fave giving a nice infusion of coconut to the stew.
Once the oil has been heated (wait for two minutes) add the sliced onions and stir lightly. Then add the curry powder stir again, and then the thyme. Saute for 3 minutes until it starts to brown then add the blended tomato mix as mentioned if you don’t have a blender add the tin tomatoes straight in at this point.
Once the tomatoes have been added, sprinkle maggi cubes or all purpose seasoning of your choice (Aromat) being a fave. Cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes occasionally stirring and ensuring the stew doesn’t burn. If it starts to dry this is good but you can add a bit of water or oil to stop from burning too soon.
Once the time is up add the chicken pieces to the sauce followed by the stock/broth. Stir lightly cover and leave to cook for a further 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference if needed.
Photos in action
Blended tomatoes and peppers.
Oil into the pan
In go the onions
In goes the cooked chicken into the tomato sauce. Chicken broth will follow shortly after.
Whilst the stew is bubbling away I like to prepare the rice.
- 2 cups of Sella rice
- 4 cups of water
- 1 knob of Margerine or 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt (optional)
Method: Wash the rice 3 times in luke warm water or like me until the water runs clear (but this too is optional) 3 times will do the trick.
*When I wash the rice, I rub it together between my hands, not too abrasively as I’ve done so in the past which yielded broken rice pieces :(.
You can cook it over the stove for 15 minutes, first 7 minutes on high with the lid off, then slowly turn the heat down, place foil over the rice cover and leave to cook for remaining time. If you’re lucky or don’t have the patience to watch the rice, a rice cooker will do. Although we had two, which we recently gave away because 1. I managed to convert the others into using the stove. And 2. It doesn’t take up too much space.
*Tip – I always try to avoid stirring the rice whilst it’s cooking. If I must, I use a fork as this prevents mashing the rice together.
Once the rice is done you can serve immediate or leave to cool until it’s ready to be served. Once the stew and rice is cooked, plate up and serve! As you can see I’m super excited to eat. I mean who wouldn’t?! lol xD
Hope you like it and share with me when you make it !