Peanut Stew is a staple of African cuisine and wow is it ever delicious! In this Ghanaian recipe, Chicken and sweet potatoes are simmered in creamy peanut butter broth, flavored with ginger, garlic and a kick of cayenne.
No thickeners are needed in this stew because it gets a rich creamy texture from the peanut butter and the sweet potatoes that partially melt into the sauce. It's naturally dairy free and gluten free, a nice bonus.
Many of us think of stews as winter fare, but the people of Ghana don't need cold weather to be inspired to cook a rich and spicy stew. Despite their tropical climate, stews are among their most common dishes. The Ghanaian name for this peanut stew is Hkatenkwan, which translates as ground-nut stew. The ground nuts, in the form of creamy peanut butter, create a rich and irresistible savory broth.
How to make West African Peanut Chicken Stew
Chicken thighs or legs, on the bone, are browned in oil, then stewed low and slow with the rest of the ingredients: onions, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and cayenne pepper. At the end, the tender chicken meat is removed from the bone, shredded and returned to the pot. The bones add great flavor and nutrients to the stew.
- Season bone-in skinless chicken thighs or legs and brown them in oil, in batches, for a few minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and add the garlic, ginger and onions. Sauté those for a few minutes (enjoying the incredible aromas) and then add the chicken back to the pot, along with the cubed sweet potatoes, crushed tomatoes, cayenne pepper and 4 cups of chicken broth. In a bowl, whisk 1 cup of creamy peanut butter with the remaining two cups of chicken broth, then pour the mixture into the stew pot and bring the stew up to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a simmer and cook the stew, uncovered, for an hour, or until the chicken is very tender. remove the chicken pieces from the pot, pull the meat from the bone, shred it and return it to the pot. Done!
To serve, ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with plenty of chopped cilantro and peanuts.
If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy these other chicken stews from across the globe
- Jamaican Curried Chicken Stew with mango
- Korean Chicken Stew with Spinach
- Moroccan Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Apricots and Kale
Here's the recipe for West African Peanut Stew with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
West African Peanut Stew with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Yield: 6-7 1x
A sweet, savory, rich, mildly spicy stew from Ghana, with chicken and sweet potatoes simmered in peanut butter broth flavored with ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper.
- 4-5 pounds skinless chicken parts, legs and thighs are best, with bones
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil such as light olive oil or canola, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (from a 2-3-inch piece)
- 6 cups peeled ½-inch-cubed sweet potato (about 3 large)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) canned crushed tomatoes.
- ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter at room temperature
- 1 bunch cilantro, thick stems removed, washed and chopped for garnish
- ½ cup chopped peanuts, optional garnish
- Rinse chicken parts, pat dry, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil (2 tablespoons) in a large stew pot or dutch oven till hot, but not smoking. Brown the chicken over medium-high heat in batches, (4-5 pieces at time) about 3 minutes per side. Once chicken is browned, set it aside.
- Pour 2 additional tablespoons of oil into the pot and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, tomatoes (2 cups), cayenne pepper (¾ teaspoon), and only 4 cups (out of 6) of chicken broth.
- In a bowl, whisk the peanut butter (1 cup) with the other two cups of broth. When fully combined, pour the mixture into the stew pot. Bring the to a boil, reduce heat to a steady low simmer and cook, uncovered , for 1 hour, or until chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
- Remove stew from heat. Using tongs, lift chicken pieces out of stew, remove meat from bones and shred. You won't need the bones for this recipe. Return shredded chicken to stew pot. Season stew with salt and fresh pepper, to taste.
- Ladle stew into shallow bowls. Garnish generously with cilantro and peanuts (optional). Enjoy!
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in October 2012. It was updated in May 2020 with all new photos, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe.]
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: simmer
- Cuisine: Ghanaian
Keywords: peanut chicken stew with sweet potatoes
Any suggestions how I might change the cooking method for a Instapot?
Hi Shawn - I don't use the instapot but here's an article that looks like it would help you make that conversion: https://amindfullmom.com/convert-recipes-pressure-cooking/
Can you use frozen sweet potatoes instead of the fresh ones??
I've never tried it but I would say yes, I bet it will work well with frozen sweet potatoes.
I add lots of vegetables to this recipe for added goodness. I triple the ginger and double the peanut butter because it is much better that way!
I like your additions. Sounds delicious!
This recipe was so easy and delicious and even my picky 11 year old had some. Will be making this and more African dishes in the future.
Absolutely delicious! This will be our new go to recipe! It makes tons of food so plenty to freeze.
Oh my word.
First had this in Gambia in 1985 in a village called Basse.
Now I've found this recipe i will be cooking it. Thanks for posting
This recipe makes quite a bit so there was enough for 2 leftover sessions feeding 3 people. Very tasty and I will make it again. Not very spicy though so may add curry and more cayenne. Thank you for your great web site
I've made this dish several times, and each time i seem to tweak it a bit, mostly by having made the change to add spinach to it, and paprika and curry powder from another African chicken stew recipe which is similar, just a bit spicier. I love it, and will most likely continue to make it years to come. oh fyi i notice the oldest review i saw wan like 2012, and i didnt find this and make it until 2020... lol but i am really happy i did. thanks
I'm so glad you found the recipe too! And thrilled that you're making it often and enjoying!! I can guess why you never found it until recently - the original photo was pretty terrible. I had no idea how to photograph food back in 2012 when I started this blog. this was always a delicious recipe but not until after I updated that post with new photos, did it finally get the attention it deserves 🙂
Could I use dried chilies instead of or in addition to the cayenne pepper? I like very hot and spicy food.
Absolutely!! Dried chilies or even fresh chilies. If you love a lot of heat, by all means spice it up!
Excellent! Made it for a friend and she loved it as well..
Tonight's dinner. So delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
I'm so glad you enjoyed Anne! Thanks so much for your comment.
Love any stew with peanuts/peanut butter. The cayenne adds a really nice kick to the already fabulous broth.
Can this be made with almond butter or would it ruin the taste completely?
I don't think this will work with almond butter.
You could Google "peanut stew with almond butter." Maybe I'm wrong and there's a great recipe out there.
If you don't like or can't eat peanut butter, have a red lentil chicken stew with butternut squash on the blog that you might like - it's got a similar feel but no peanut butter.
I'm from Ghana and I noticed something. It's Nkatenkwan(literal translation is Peanut Soup) not Hkatenkwan. The addition of sweet potato is interesting as I've never seen any Ghanaian use it in their Peanut soup as the peanut paste is already sweet on its own.
Perfect for the winter! Very tasty
Can I also make this stew without the chicken or any other meat? Just veg?
Hi Birgitt. I'm sure this would be a delicious vegetarian stew. I'd love to know vegetables you use and how it turns out!
thank you for this lovely recipe Lisa. It was the perfect stew for a chilly evening in Adelaide, Australia and will definitely be added to my repertoire.
I am in N J we have no power and no heat . But as soon as we do I am going to try this recipe I feel warmed up just looking at it. I love how u research all your recipes learning a dishes history is so much fun. Thanks for satisfying my appetite for food and knowledge!
Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you get your power back soon. Stay warm!
I love African stews with chicken and sweet potatoes and this one sounds absolutely delicious - can't wait to try it!! So happy you have posted 2 inspiring recipes that will help me deal with my pounds and pounds of CSA sweet potatoes!
Glad to help you with your CSA! Enjoy the stew!
Oh my goodness that sounds so good!
Hi, could I use lamb instead of chicken?
Hi Celine - I bet lamb would be delicious here. If you do use it, I'd love to hear back.