African Potato Stew

From the Vitality Food Feature ‘SPUD LOVE‘.

Returning to one of my favourites, I heartily recommend the bountiful Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. Always a source of inspiration for great meals, this gold mine is available in hard cover and paperback by Harvard Common Press; Boston; 1997.

Nutritious dark leafy greens, dark orange sweet potatoes, and cruciferous cauliflower, coupled with an exotic spice combination make this stew a cool-weather delight. Serve with couscous, rice or quinoa. Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 cups water (or mild vegetable stock)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 cups thinly sliced collard greens (or substitute chard or spinach)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften. Add the ginger, the seeds and spices. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.

2) Add the potatoes to the pot, and stir well. Stir in water and turn heat to high. When the mixture comes to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and reduce heat to low. Simmer the stew, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Stir in the cauliflower, sweet potato, collard greens, and raisins. Continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes and sweet potatoes are tender. Season the stew with vinegar, salt and pepper and add more liquid if the stew is too dry. Serve hot. Pass a hot sauce like Tabasco or a spice mixture like Harissa, for anyone who likes it spicy.

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