Abra’s Kwanzaa Stew

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Serves 4 | start to finish: 45 minutes
from Edible Seattle November/December 2011

This dish, like the holiday itself, is an African-American hybrid, because I created it in America, using ingredients traditional to many African cuisines. If you’re not worried about keeping the recipe vegan, chicken stock works well in place of vegetable broth. Ketjap manis, if you don’t already use it, is a delicious Indonesian soy sauce, sweet and pungent. You can find it in large Asian grocery stores like Uwajimaya or Viet Wah. While it’s not required, a bowl of brown rice is a great accompaniment.

Note: for a homemade version of ketjap manis, whisk together 4 teaspoons of soy sauce with 2 teaspoons molasses.


1 pound lacinato kale
4 cups vegetable broth
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
2 tablespoons ketjap manis (or a mix of soy sauce and molasses)
2 teaspoons smoked sweet pimenton
2-4 dashes piri-piri sauce (or other very hot sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
16 ounces baked sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt to taste


Remove the stems from the kale and slice the leaves into ribbons. In a Dutch oven or large flameware or enameled cast iron casserole placed over medium low heat, simmer the kale in the broth, covered, until it is tender. Add the tomatoes and garbanzos to the kale and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in peanut butter, ketjap manis, pimenton, piri-piri and sesame oil and stir until smooth. Add the chunks of cooked sweet potato and stir until they partially dissolve into sauce (leave some chunks intact).

Taste for salt and serve piping hot.


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