Daraba, or peanut buttery vegetable stew (Chad)

Chad is a large landlocked country in Central Africa. It is one of the poorest and most corrupted countries of the world and most Westerners probably know nothing about it. As is common in Africa, it is home to over 200 ethnic groups and like many African countries, it unfortunately has a history of civil wars, attempted coups, messy politics and such. Over half of the people are muslims, though about 1/3 are Christian. Polygamy is very common. The country has a rich cultural heritage, especially around music. There is only one cinema in the country, but very small scale movie production still exists.

The main staple food of Chad is millet, usually formed into balls which are dipped into sauces. It is also made into various alcoholic drinks. Other starchy foods include sorghum, corn, rice, manioc, and potatoes. Other popular ingredients include fish, yoghurt, various beans, bananas, some nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, dried fruit, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes and okra. Foods may be seasoned with e.g. lemon juice and zest, chili, coriander, cardamom, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, cloves and honey.

Africa, especially West/Central Africa I believe(?) is full of various peanut butter based soups and stews. Daraba is one example I’m not a big fan of peanut butter in sweet dishes or by itself, but I do like it in a good salty dish. This is quite a simple dish, but interesting, because it evokes ingredients that would to most people suggest different continents (e.g. okra = Creole, peanut sauce = Thai/Indonesian). And it was quite tasty.

When I was slicing the okra I thought it looked like pretty flowers, so I used it as a garnish. I kind of suck at garnishing, but at least the okra flowers take the focus away from the brown, mushy nondescriptness of the actual dish. ;-P



20 fresh okra, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
200 g/0.4 lbs mixed greens, finely shredded (I used just spinach)
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 eggplant, cubed
2 dl/0.8 cup peanut butter
1 Maggi or stock cube (or liquid Maggi)
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except for peanut butter to a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are done. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more. Serve with rice, boiled plantains or boiled yams. Makes 4-6 servings.

One Response to “Daraba, or peanut buttery vegetable stew (Chad)”

  1. 1

    What a lovely stew! The flavors sounds really good, but the method is simple.

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