This dish is unashamedly West African, where peanut stews are common. Yet I’ve included it in my book Motherland, because the movement of peanuts around the world tells of the trading routes that saw food, goods and people cross the Atlantic through the Columbian Exchange and beyond.
Today, peanuts grow throughout Jamaica, especially in St Elizabeth. So, while this isn’t a Jamaican dish, it’s one that draws on the West African influence that has inspired Jamaican food.
onion 1, chopped
garlic 2 cloves, crushed
ginger 2½cm piece, finely grated
ground turmeric 2 tsp
ground cumin 1 tbsp
ground coriander 1 tbsp
ground fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
sweet potatoes 2, peeled and chopped into 2½cm cubes
vegetable stock 400ml
red kidney beans 400g tin, drained
peanut butter 2 tbsp
spinach 2 bunches, washed and roughly chopped, stalks removed
boiled rice to serve
In a Dutch pot or large saucepan, fry the onion in a little oil. After 8 minutes, add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the spices, mixed with a little water to prevent them burning. Stir and cook until the spices become aromatic.
Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat, then pour in the stock, and add the beans and peanut butter. Put a lid on the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Remove the lid, mix in the spinach and leave for 5 minutes until cooked. Taste, then add salt until seasoned as you prefer.
Serve with boiled rice.
From Motherland by Melissa Thompson (Bloomsbury, £26)