Sunday, January 21, 2007

Domodah (West African Groundnut Stew)

Groundnuts are what peanuts are called in English-speaking West Africa. Eggplant gives substance, but use whatever vegetables appeal to you. (Non-veggie versions of this dish often include chicken.) I was introduced to this delight by my friend t.d. when he visited me in NYC from The Gambia.

Heat ½- 3/4 cup canola oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Chop together and cook in the oil

  • 3 - 4 tomatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 Tablespoons harissa* (or 2 fresh hot peppers or 1 teaspoon cayenne)

Add 1-2 cups tomato juice (or water), to make about 6 cups altogether. When it is beginning to simmer, add

  • 1½ - 1 3/4 cups good peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (only if not using harissa, above).

Turn the heat to low, and keep cooking.

When it's been simmering for a while, add

  • 1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
  • and other vegetables you might like, such as yams, potatoes, green beans, squash of any variety, etc.

Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender. Serve on a bed of cooked rice or other grain.

*Harissa is a wonderful paste of hot peppers, tomatoes and spices used widely in Francophone northern Africa. Though it isn't traditionally used in this west African dish -- fresh hot peppers are the most authentic ingredient -- I think it gives a wonderful accent. If you can find harissa in a tube, it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. If you get the canned version, it is much safer to freeze any amount that won't be used within a few days.


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