I’m not going to lie. One of the best parts of being a teacher is the glorious, long summer holidays. This summer, I am lucky enough to be shlepping off to deepest, darkest Devon to an old farmhouse nestled in a tiny village called Harricott. The farmhouse belongs to Amy (who was my housemate and fellow teaching student at university) and her husband, Andrew. Both originally from Devon, they have since returned to Andrew’s family 18th century home which has been in his family since the early 1900s.
Amy and Andrew (along with little Dachshund dog, Jamie) are the most fabulous hosts and have treated me to many foodie treats during my stay here so far. Upon my arrival, Amy welcomed me with freshly made scones (made by Andrew’s mum) clotted cream and jam and a steaming cup of tea. Perfect! The climate here this week has been similar to that of Southern France; the long, hot days have mellowed into balmy evenings, ensuring that every meal has been eaten outside. At the top of the country garden sits a table and chairs against the backdrop of the old milking parlour, with long views over the Devonshire countryside. It doesn’t get better than this, I have already threatened that I may never leave!
One such evening, Andrew cooked us a wonderful meal that was somewhat at odds with our quintessential English countryside environment: Domoda.
Domoda, a Gambian peanut stew that is utterly delicious. This dish is inspired by Andrew’s Christian mission work in Gambia several years ago, through the charity Seedlings for Christ. The stew is vegetarian, using any vegetables you can get your hands on. Andrew used butternut squash, carrot, mushroom and peppers, but feel free to deviate from this. Try sweet potato, okra, aubergine and chickpeas. Although vegetarian, you could also easily add chicken by panfrying after the onions to seal the meat, before simmering together with the vegetables.
The colours are so vibrant and look beautiful against the white, sticky rice and colourful bowls. Despite being a Gambian dish, most of the ingredients are those which can be found easily at home, or substituted. For example, Andrew recommends using Maggi stock, which is widely used throughout Africa. However, any good vegetable stock will be absolutely fine.
Andrew used chilli powder for this dish but I have suggested using a fresh chilli finely chopped. As always, I would recommend leaving in the seeds for a nice, fiery kick! Although not traditional to the recipe, I also think sprinkling the stew with chopped coriander and anding a swirl of natural yoghurt before serving would be delicious.
So whether you are at home or abroad this summer, why not mix things up a bit and try this easy and tasty Gambian stew. The creamy, nuttiness achieved by the peanut butter will be a real hit. Particularly recommended for dining outside with a glass of wine in hand!
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 chilli, finely diced (seeds in for an extra kick!)
- pinch of kaloniji black onion seeds (optional)
- 250ml Maggi vegetable stock
- ⅓ jar peanut butter (about 110g)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
- ½ small butternut squash, diced into 1cm cubes
- 4 medium mushrooms, quartered
- 1 red or green pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
- 150g rice, to serve
- 1 star anise
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and soften. Add the chilli and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
- Stir in the peanut butter until creamy. Add the chopped tomatoes.
- Add all the vegetables and simmer for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has reduced to a thicker consistency. Some of the peanut butter oil may rise to the surface; this can be skimmed off if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- While the stew is cooking, boil the rice according to pack instructions. When the rice is al dente, drain the rice with a sieve, saving the water into a separate bowl. Pour the water back into the pan the rice was cooked in (this saves you re-heating more water) and place the sieve over the top. Add the star anise to the sieve of rice and place a lid over the top. Steam for 5 minutes.
- When cooked, spoon the rice into a small, round bowl and tip onto the serving plate to form a 'rice dome.' Serve with the cooked peanut stew.
To make this stew with chicken, simply pan fry the chicken after the onions have been softened to seal the meat. It will continue to cook through once the stock and other ingredients have been added.
If you have a slow cooker, place all the ingredients in the cooker and heat for 3 hours. If you are using chicken, seal the meat first.