My husband has very fond childhood memories of his beloved grandmother, the family matriarch — Akouba — preparing this sauce for him and his brother on days when she was too busy with her many pioneering business enterprises to focus on cooking. It is a very simple sauce and perfect for the cooler winter weather as its packed with terrific vitamins. Traditionally, the veggies are “pre-cooked” with the meat, cooled in a bowl of cold water and then pureed on a grinding stone. I have adapted the recipe for modern kitchens and time constraints. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!
Country of Origin: Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
Serves: 8 adults
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 kg stew beef (or chicken), preferably bone-in, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bit-sized portions.
2 crabs, washed and cut in two between the eyes (optional)
4 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
10 scotch bonnet peppers, cleaned and stemmed (or to taste)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 large fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large can African eggplant (see note below)
2 Jumbo cubes (or shrimp Maggi cubes, if Jumbo is unavailable in your area)
Salt (to taste)
1. Puree garlic, onion, and scotch bonnet peppers in blender or food processer fitted with steel chopping blade. Add water as necessary to ensure vegetables are well pureed.
2. Heat oil in a large casserole set over medium high heat. Add beef, crabs (if using), and onion, scotch bonnet, and garlic mixture. Allow mixture to cook down a bit, ensuring beef is well-sealed on all sides.
3. In the meantime, use the same blender (or food processor) jar to process fresh tomatoes and African eggplant. Add water as needed to puree.
4. Once meat is sealed and vegetable mixture has cooked down a bit (about 7 minutes), add tomato and eggplant mixture to the pot along with 2 liters of water and the crumbled seasoning cubes.
5. Allow the stew to simmer over medium heat for approximately 40 minutes, or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency and meat is tender. Taste for salt, and adjust as needed. Serve over rice.
Note: Canned African eggplants are available at African markets. If fresh African eggplant is available in your area, you can use 10 fresh eggplants in lieu of the canned eggplants. Alternately, you could substitute one medium italian eggplant peeled, salted, drained, and diced.