Peppery Chicken Stew

I have been making this West African-inspired stew for about 10 years now, and it is truly the #1 most-asked-about-near-the-microwave-at-work dish. My former coworker and friend, Cristina, will be so excited to have this recipe now! There is something about the wafting aroma of the peppers, curry, cumin, and peanuts that makes everyone take a warm, deep breath and want to dig in! I serve it over steamed jasmine rice and top it with crunchy unsalted peanuts. You can up the spice level with extra cayenne, but I keep it mild for the kids right now.Try it and make your coworkers jealous.

A pan full of happiness. This dish is for those of you who love bold flavors!

A note about the spices used: This dish requires a bunch of spices, but it’s worth it, I promise! You can start by buying small jars of them and see if you want to add them permanently to your spice cabinet. I put together a cart at Penzeys and call it a day! I just want to note that not all curry powders are hot. I have used Madras style hot curry powder for this recipe, but my current favorite is Maharajah style curry powder, which is sweet and rich, but not hot. Let me know what you think of this dish, I hope you love it.

Peppery Chicken Stew
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: West African-inspired
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 1½ cups jasmine rice
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter (I use natural, chunky)
  • unsalted peanuts for garnish
  • Special equipment: Rice cooker
  1. Put rice and water in a rice cooker and turn on.
  2. Prepare spice mixture in either a gallon-size zip-top bag or a pie plate. Add salt, flour, curry powder, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper into the bag or dish and mix well with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Prepare your vegetables by slicing the peppers and onions and mincing the garlic, and put all of them aside in a large bowl waiting for you.
  4. Cut the chicken into cubes and toss in the spice/flour mixture, a handful of chicken at a time. Remove from the mixture with a slotted spoon, shaking off the excess back into the plate or bag and moving all the chicken to a large plate. Save the extra flour/spice mixture.
  5. Heat your largest skillet or a wok to high heat for 2-3 minutes with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until the oil is almost smoking and is very hot. Slide in all of the chicken and sear on one side for about 3 minutes, then toss and let cook almost all the way through, another 2 minutes or so. Remove to a plate.
  6. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and all of the vegetables. Saute until the vegetables become softened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved flour/spice mixture to the pan and toss with all the vegetables for about 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan. Make a well in the center and add in peanut butter and chicken stock. Mix well and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 3 minutes to finish cooking the chicken through and allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if necessary.
  8. Serve hot over rice and top with peanuts for crunch.


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