You already know by now that palm oil has its health benefits, one of which is preventing Vitamin A deficiency. According to WebMD, it has been proven to some extent that palm oil, when added to children and pregnant women’s diet, could reduce the risk of them having a Vitamin A deficiency. I guess, we also know how essential Vitamin A is for growing children and it is found more in animal foods but palm oil, from the African palm nut fruit is one plant food that supplies that. Now, who says palm oil is not healthy…everything food is not, as long as moderation is not applied (my opinion).
This Scent leaf stew is made just like the normal tomato stew, except that you use palm oil instead of vegetable oil. The oil is also not bleached at all, so no need to worry about a smoky kitchen. The Nigerian basil leaves (nchanwu, effirin) is the star of this stew because it locks in the taste. It gives it this out of the world distinct flavour, making it totally different from the stew you always knew. Let me also add that this stew tastes better with chicken or fish. I have tried beef before and it didn’t just give that wow taste i got from chicken and fish.
It is celebration and holiday galore for those in Nigeria and what better way to spend it than to try out this stew to go with the traditional sunday rice. If you are in other parts of the globe, also try it out in the spirit of oneness for our country.
Palm Oil Tomato-Herb Stew Recipe
- 500g of tomatoes
- Red tatashe
- 3 medium onions
- 2 cooking spoons of red palm oil
- Chicken – You can use fish, preferably mackerel because of the distinct taste but you can try with others
- 1 Seasoning cube or powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stock and water
- A small bunch or handful of nchanwu (scent leaves, efirin or basil leaves) – sliced or shredded
- Blend tomatoes, peppers and onions together. Pour in a pot and heat till the water dries up and it turns to a puree. This helps in frying the stew much quicker.
- Cut, season and boil chicken with some onions, salt and seasonings. Set aside when done and remember to leave some stock for the stew.
- Pour the red palm oil in a pot and put on heat. Add a handful of onions once the oil is heated, like you do when using vegetable oil. Remember you are not bleaching the palm oil and it will still be red.
- Add the boiled tomato puree and fry. I prefer not to fry my stew for long by adding seasonings to it immediately, thus helping bring out the taste before adding the stock and boiling in low heat. You can fry till you get your desired dryness or you can try my method.
- Add the stock and top with water if the stew is too thick, then cook on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes.
- Finally, add the chicken and the nchanwu (efirin, scent or basil leaves) into your pot of stew, stir and adjust your seasonings. Leave to simmer for a minute and remove from fire.
- Serve with rice, potatoes, yam, plantain or any other preferred side.
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