Aubergine and peanut stew with pink onions

By Anna Jones
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This stew brings charred aubergines to a pan with peanuts, peanut butter and lots of chilli and spice. The onions add a shock of acid and neon pink. I love red-skinned peanuts. They are a great source of protein and in the summer we soak them in cold water, which makes them more nutritious, keeping them in the fridge to eat with fruit for our breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 150g unsalted red-skinned peanuts
  • 2 medium aubergines, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground nut oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • Bay leaves
  • A small bunch of coriander, stalks chopped, leaves kept whole
  • 6 whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2-1 Scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped, depending on heat
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter

Pink onions:

  • 1 red onion
  • Tablespoon caster sugar or honey
  • Tablespoons red wine vinegar

Serve with:

  • Rice or flatbreads
  • A small bunch of coriander, chopped

Directions

  1. In a heatproof bowl soak the peanuts in 500ml boiling water, leaving until they need to be added to the stew.
  2. Put a large saucepan or casserole dish over your highest heat, add the chopped aubergines and dry-fry, turning regularly, until browned on all sides. This will take about five to six minutes and you may need to do it in batches depending on the size of your pan.
  3. If you have been cooking in batches, add all the aubergines back to the pan, then add the oil and fry for a further five minutes, adding more oil if it looks a little dry. Next, add the white onions to the pan and cook over a medium heat for another ten minutes until the onions are soft and sweet.
  4. Add the spices, bay leaves and coriander stalks and fry for a minute more. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time so nothing sticks.
  5. Add most of the Scotch bonnet and all the vegetable stock. Drain the peanuts and add to the pan, then simmer over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until you have a thick sauce.
  6. While the stew is cooking, slice the red onion as thinly as you can and put in a bowl. Add the caster sugar or honey and red wine vinegar and scrunch with your hands. Add the remaining Scotch bonnet and the coriander leaves and stir well.
  7. Once the stew is ready, stir in the peanut butter. Drain the liquid from the onions and stir it into the stew a tablespoon at a time until it is the right level of acidity. Add a little more hot stock or water if it's too thick. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, ladle into bowls, top with the pink onions and coriander, and serve with rice or flatbreads.

From the book ONE: POT, PAN, PLANET by Anna Jones. Copyright © 2021 by Anna Jones. Published by 4th Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. 

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