Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nigerian Red Chicken Stew

Before I begin I am not sure if this is "authentic" or not, I've seen recipes and videos on youtube by Nigerian and non- Nigerian people cooking it and they all do it different, even some blogs I've seen. (some boil the meat first, etc.)

The recipe I use as a guideline is from a woman that calls her self "Chi Chi" (yes I know what that could be slang for in Spanish ha ha), but I don't do everything exactly as directed I just kinda do it my way.


Now with that said, I love love this stew, the commonalities I've seen among all recipes is that they all use onion, garlic, habaneros or scotch bonnets, salt, and bouillon cubes or powder.

My way is different when I cook chicken in the sense that I brown the chicken really well , creating a "fond"/ base for my sauce using the delicious caramelized brown bits on the bottom of the pan which I de-glaze. It makes a big difference, I also like to cut up my chicken bone in into small pieces it makes it very very flavorful, and the chicken cooks in the sauce as well until tender. Everything marries well. This stew can be done with any meat of your choice (goat, chicken, pork, beef, etc.)

I am not an expert or know anything about African cooking, but I do know how to make meat stews come out delicious :)


-3 lbs/ 1 whole chicken, cut into bite size pieces, cleaned
-salt and pepper to taste
-cooking oil
-1 large onion minced
-1 large thumb size piece of ginger minced
-1/2 head of garlic minced
-1 cup tomato sauce
-2 scotch bonnets or habanero peppers
-2 teaspoons curry powder (whatever your favorite curry powder is)
-1 teaspoon dried thyme (fresh works to)
-1 bay leaf
-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
-water (enough to barely cover chicken)

(1) Heat a large pot on high heat, add oil, and when it's almost gonna smoke, add chicken and allow to brown on all sides.
(2) Meanwhile puree your tomato sauce with your habanero or scotch peppers, set aside.

(3) Chop everything and get everything ready while your chicken is browning, when chicken is done browning set aside, and add a little more oil, add your minced onion, garlic, and ginger sautee until fragrant, make sure to scrape to get the flavorful golden caramelization.
(4) Then add your curry powder, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir together until fragrant maybe 30 seconds don't let it burn. Add the chicken back and coat with everything.
(5) Add enough water to barely cover the chicken and the bouillon, bring to a rolling boil and add salt to taste. Allow to simmer 30 minutes until chicken is very tender.
(6) After 30 minutes remove from heat.
It goes very well served over white fluffy rice, with some fried plantains and if you wish some cooked greens or something. At home we sauteed some asparagus with lots of olive oil and garlic.

(1) I use 2-3 scotch bonnets or habaneros with the seeds and all because I like it very very spicy, you can use 1 habanero if you wish, or substitute it for a green or red bell pepper then it wouldn't be spicy at all.

(2) The black pepper, curry powder, dried thyme, bay leaf, and ginger are optional but I really like the flavor of all those combines together and I believe it's what makes it special and unique. If it didn't have that, it would taste like the spicy Mexican tomato based sauces then you can add cilantro ha ha.

(3) You can also use 6 tomatoes really well pureed instead of the tomato sauce, but I prefer the tomato sauce.

(4) Let me tell you this is my boyfriends favorite stews and has become one of my favorites as well.


YayaOrchid said...

Nathan, you have yet another winner here! This dish looks DELICIOUS! I need to buy some habaneros, I don't think I can find scotch bonnet peppers here. That and ginger. Otherwise I'd be cooking that tomorrow!

Also LOVE the dish you made before this, your arroz con pollo. You're right it does look even more delicious than regular arroz con pollo!

Nathan said...

YayaOrchid :),
You can make it without the ginger if you don't have it, I love fresh ginger root though. And habaneros will work well. Also "Chile Manzano" will work too. Use like 2-3 of those if using.

You can actually give make this in it's most simple form, habaneros, onions, garlic, and tomato. and season with only salt, and chicken bouillon it was delicious as well :) the first time I made it I prepared it like that and it was still awesome. I just like to add all that stuff becuase it gives it a different taste I enjoy.

When I made it simple like that it reminded me of Mexican food it was almost the same as the Mexican tomato based sauces except it had habaneros instead of jalepenos or serranos. When you explore other cultures sometimes you'll be surprised in the similarities we can from a culinary perspective in it's most basic form.

Mamey said...

History takes strange turns. Today Cuban dishes are not usually piquant, and yet it was from Cuba and other Caribbean islands that hot peppers were first introduced to West Africa, where the coastal tribes would sell slaves from the interior to Spaniards and Potuguese. As the ships went back and forth so did different foods, and Iberian cooking styles mixed with products from Mexico, Brazil, etc., some of them making their way back to Africa. BTW, some of the tastiest fried plantains I've ever had were made by Nigerians.

Nathan said...

I usually make my Cuban food very mellow, but let me tell you Habanero peppers which are fiery hot, usually blend in very well taste wise with most of our tomato based stews & the Pimenton Dulce and Picante from La Vera region of Spain is heaven in almost any Cuban stew too which is the same most of the time to their Spanish counterparts.

Mamey/Omar said...

Yeah...once in a while I use habaneros in Cuban/Spanish recipes, but then I get complaints from some of my older (in their sixties) cousins!

Nathan said...

lol. I can't use habaneros if cooking for my grandmother or when I'm cooking for larger crowds specially Cubans ha ha. but if it's just my mother and father and some friends whom are Mexican, etc. I can get it away with it :)