West African Cooking: Delicious Okra Stew With Red Palm Oil
Red Palm Oil
As I’ve previously mentioned, red palm oil is a staple ingredient in West African culture. It is used to make delicious dishes that are enjoyed by many. If you’re looking to do something different in your kitchen, using palm oil will definitely bring flavor and variety to your stovetop.
You can read more about red palm oil here.
4 cups water
2 bouillon cubes (Maggi brand)
2 chopped onions
1 chopped green pepper
1 habanero pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3-4 cups frozen okra
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 ½ cups red palm oil
Chicken pieces of choice: drumsticks, thighs and
Beef for stew, cut into cubes
Fish of choice : croaker, salmon or tilapia are some that can be used in this stew
Steamed white rice
Make the base for the stew
- Clean and season chicken parts with salt and cayenne pepper, set aside.
- Clean fish parts and squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice over the pieces. Add a dash of salt to the pieces and set to the side.
- In a large sized pot, boil the 4 cups of water with maggi cubes. You can add the chopped beef at this point since it takes longer to cook than the other meats. If you don't want to boil, you can place the meat in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes and set aside.
- After about 10 minutes add the palm oil and let it continue to boil until it starts to blend with the water. Put the heat to medium/high. The consistency at this point should be that of soup or watered down gravy; runny but with some slight thickness from the palm oil. If you pressure cooked the meat, add it to the mixture at this point.
The "Base" mixture
The rest of the animal kingdom....
Now it's time to add the meat:
- While the beef and palm oil are boiling, take the fish and fry in peanut or palm oil until golden brown on all sides. Set aside.
- Add cleaned and seasoned chicken to the palm oil base.
Now for the veggies...
- Add one of the chopped onions
- Immediately follow with the peanut butter and let it continue to cook. Monitor for consistency again as it continues to boil. It should be thicker at this point.
- Add the chopped okra and let it cook until the okra is well blended into the stew forming it’s well known “sliminess”.
- Add green and habanero peppers.
- Add remaining onion.
- Cover slightly with lid and let all ingredients boil to a saucy texture. Monitor the boiling and watch for the palm oil to change color. You’ll know when the stew is done when the palm oil rises to the top and turns dark.
Other variations of this dish
- Include spinach and salmon instead of croaker
- Eat it with pounded yams instead of rice. Pounded yam (commonly known as "fufu") is made from the root of the cassava plant and has a starchy texture to it and is formed into a ball once it's finished. you just scoop the fufu with your hand and dip it into the stew. Heaven!
- Reduce the okra and include kale, mustard and collard greens to the mix. Using different types of greens at one time has a great taste.
- If you're not a spice person, you can omit the pepper. It will still taste great.
Don't have a rice cooker? Here's how to make white rice on the stovetop
Beef (serving size 4oz)
Enjoy this recipe
It's great for parties or when you just want to try something different. Of course, the ingredients can be modified depending on how much you want or how thick or loose you want it to be. Some folks prefer the texture to be watered down more than others. It depends on your preferences.
Enjoy and happy cooking!