Serves 4, a recipie from Carmeroon
You will need (and it's a lot)
- 2.5cm/1in fresh root ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 10ml/2tsp dried mixed herbs
- 30ml/2 tbsp oil, vegetable or olive
- 225g/8oz peeled prawns (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked peanuts
- 1kg/2 1/4lb white fish such as barracuda, smoked or dried
- 225g/8oz bitterleaf or spinach
- 5 tomatoes, blanched and peeled
- vegetable or palm oil
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2.5cm/1in stalk of fresh rosemary, chopped (1tsp dried)
- 15ml/1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (1tsp dried)
- 2 stock cubes dissolved in 2 pints hot water
- 2 hot chilli peppers (such as scotch bonnet or bird's eye chilli)
- additional spring onions (optional)
If using the prawns in the stew, put them in a bowl with the chopped garlic, onion, spring onion, herbs and oil. Stir, then cover and leave in a cool place to marinate overnight.
Peel the pink skins from the raw peanuts by blanching them in hot water for a minute or two. Boil them in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or for an hour in a saucepan. The peanuts will have lost their crunchy edge, but they shouldn't be soggy.
Soak the smoked-dried fish in plenty of hot water until it softens. Take off any skin.
Wash the bitterleaf repeatedly in plenty of water to wash out its bitter taste, drain and then chop rougly. (If you are using spinach instead, bear in mind that it will shrink drastically when it's cooked so you will need lots).
Liquidise the tomatoes to a smooth paste, or chop very finely.
Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger, rosemary and thyme and fry for about a minute before adding the tomatoes. Stir well and cook until most of the liquid has gone and the tomatoes have lost their sweetness.
Put some of the peanuts in a blender with some water and grind until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth. Repeat until all the peansuts have been ground up. If you are using pestle and mortar, you'll need big muscles.
Add the washed bitterleaf to the tomatoes. Stir well and cook on a low heat for a few minutes so the tomato fully coats the greens. Then put the creamed peanuts in and stir again until it's a well-blended green and white dappled mixture. Simmer for a short while.
Drain the fish (it should now be soft) and tear it into pieces about an inch long. You don't want it to be too small or the fish will disappear in the stew! (If you like you could use meat such as chicken or beef instead, cooked with stock cubes and hot pepper until tender). Stir the fish into the stew.
Dissolve the stock cubes in hot water, chop the hot peppers and add to the stock then pour it all into the stew. Mix well. For a truly pungent mixture, you could cook the peppers in some water, liquidise the peppers and the liquid then use that to dissolve the stock cubes.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the prawns with the marinade for about three or four minutes. When the prawns are crispy and golden add to the stew. For extra brightness and freshness you could add some chopped spring onions.