African Chicken Stew
Published Dec 24, 2020
Updated Aug 22, 2023
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African Chicken Stew is made with tomatoes that are cooked down until the taste is mellow. It is so flavorful and perfect served over hot fluffy rice!
I am pretty much excited about every recipe I put on here. But this recipe, this African Chicken Stew recipe, this recipe right here has me so excited. It is so flavorful and I can not wait to show you guys how I make it.
I just love my job. I love to show you that you can make mind-blowing delicious food in your kitchen.
I have a thing for tomato-based stews. In fact, growing up in Cameroon, what we often referred to as stew was a tomato-based dish with chicken, beef, or fish.
And we mostly had our stew with rice. Rice and Stew is an iconic dish in a lot of West and Central African countries.
There’s just something about that rich red/orange tomato stew dancing over hot fluffy rice. This stew is so flavorful with the combination of herbs and spices used.
This African Chicken Stew was a recurring Christmas dish while growing up. It is the one dish we HAD to have every Christmas.
Ingredients For African Chicken Stew
Here is a run-down of the ingredients you need for African Chicken Stew. Be sure to check out the full recipe below for the specific measurements of each ingredient.
1. Chicken. Typically whole “hard” chicken is used to make African chicken stew. The chicken used is tougher than conventional chicken in America. I get hard chicken from African or Asian stores. If regular American chicken is all you’ve got, you can still try this recipe. You’ll just have to cook it for a shorter time and with less water.
2. Tomatoes. Fresh ripe tomatoes are used for African chicken stew. The riper the tomatoes, the tastier the stew. Roma tomatoes are the perfect tomatoes to use here because they are not as acidic as other kinds of tomatoes.
3. Oil. Vegetable oil or any neutral-tasting oil would work here.
4. Onions. For flavor.
5. Herbs. Herbs like basil, celery, and parsley add a lot of flavor to this stew.
6. Garlic and ginger. These are two of my favorite ingredients and for good reason. They really improve the taste of this stew.
7. White pepper. Because white pepper and chicken go so well together. But you could use black pepper in a pinch.
8. Maggi seasoning cubes. These are a hallmark of West African cuisine. But you could substitute them with chicken bouillon powder.
9. Salt. For flavor.
10. Curry powder. This is an optional ingredient for me. The stew will taste great with or without it.
11. Tomato paste. This combines with fresh tomatoes to thicken the stew. Tomato paste can be replaced with double the quantity of tomato sauce.
I should note here that another ingredient you could add is habanero or scotch bonnet pepper to make the stew hot. In fact, a lot of Africans love it that way. However, I omit it because my kids can’t tolerate that level of heat *yet*.
How To Cook African Chicken Stew
Here is a run-down of how to make African chicken stew. Be sure to check out the full recipe below for more detailed directions.
1. Chop chicken into desired pieces. Season the chicken with a seasoning blend made of ginger, garlic, and herbs. Also add salt, Maggi, white pepper, and onions to the chicken.
2. Add water to the chicken and cook until done.
3. Drain the chicken and place it in the oven to broil.
4. Heat up oil and saute onions. Add freshly blended tomatoes and cook down until tomatoes shrink. Add tomato paste and cook down.
5. Add ginger, garlic, and herbs and cook to release their flavor. Add stock from the cooked chicken and curry powder. Add water to desired thickness.
6. Add broiled chicken back to the pot and let it simmer in the stew. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which country in Africa is this recipe from?
I grew up in Cameroon, which is in West and Central Africa. This recipe is informed by how I experienced Chicken Stew in my country of origin. However, very similar chicken stew is made in other West and Central African countries like Ghana, Congo, Togo, and Nigeria.
I should note here that chicken stew looks a lot different in other parts of Africa like North Africa or South Africa.
2. Can I reduce the quantity of oil used?
Yes, you can reduce the quantity of oil used BUT it is important that you start with the one cup of oil the recipe calls for.
That’s because you need enough oil to help cook down the tomatoes. Once the stew is done you can then skim off the excess oil with a spoon.
Also, you could make this stew with a healthier oil like avocado oil or light olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is not ideal because it has a strong taste which might interfere with the flavors in the stew.
Watch How To Make African Chicken Stew
More Chicken Recipes You Might Love
More African Dinner Recipes To Try
- Nigerian Beef Stew
- Jollof Rice With Chicken
- African Okra Soup
- African Chicken Peanut Stew
- Vitumbua – East African Coconut Rice Pancakes
African Chicken Stew
- 10 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 inches ginger root peeled
- 6 sprigs parsley
- 4 sprigs basil
- 1 stem celery
- 5 pounds chicken (I used a whole chicken) about 2.5kg, see Note 1
- 1 large onion (chopped and divided into 3)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper divided
- 3 teaspoons Maggi seasoning cubes (4g) substitute with three teaspoons chicken bouillon powder (divided)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil or any neutral tasting oil
- 6 large Roma tomatoes or 8 medium ones (see Note 2)
- 6 oz tomato paste (170g) substitute with double the quantity of tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
Prepare the seasoning blend.
- Chopped the peeled ginger root and place it in a blender. Rinse and chop the basil, parsley, and celery and add them to the blender. Add the garlic cloves and 1/3 of the chopped onion to the blender. Add a little water to help the blender then blend everything into a smooth paste.
Prep The Chicken
- If using a whole chicken, rinse thoroughly then wipe with paper towels. Cut the chicken into desired pieces and place it in a pot.
- To the chicken, add the salt, 2 Maggi cubes or 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder, a quarter teaspoon of white pepper and half of the seasoning blend. Add enough water to be at the same level as the chicken. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together so all the ingredients get evenly distributed.
- Set the chicken on high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat down to medium and let it simmer until chicken is fully cooked. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the hardness of the chicken.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the stock and place on a baking sheet lined with a rack. Reserve the chicken stock.
- Set oven to high broil. Place the chicken in the oven to broil on one side for about 8 minutes. Then remove the chicken, flip to the other side and let it broil for about 5 minutes.
Make the stew.
- Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in chunks and place them in a blender with another 1/3 of the chopped onion. Blend into a paste (no need to add water before blending),
- Pour the one cup of oil into a large pot and let it heat up on high heat for about 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining onion to the oil and quickly stir. Let it saute for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato-onion blend to the oil and let it cook for about 10 minutes -20 minutes while you stir from time to time to prevent burning. Let it cook until the tomatoes significantly dehydrate and it's mostly just the tomatoes and oil left in the pot.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and let it cook while stirring continuously until the tomatoes completely dehydrate and there is just tomato and oil in the pot.
- Add the remaining half of the green seasoning blend to the pot and stir so the flavors can bloom. Let it cook while you stir from time to time for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the reserved chicken stock, the curry powder, the remaining Maggi cube or 1 more teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder. Also add half to one cup of water depending on your preferred level of thickness. Stir everything to combine. Add the broiled chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Let everything simmer for 5 minutes so the chicken can marry the flavors in the stew. Turn off the heat and your African Chicken Stew is done!
- Serve stew warm over hot fluffy rice with a side of sweet fried plantains if you like. Store stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or on the freezer for up to a month.