Eggplant Stew with Meat, Shrimp and Smoked Fish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    6 to 8

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

This recipe is adapted from a rich stew we cooked at Flair. It includes that common blending of meat and fresh and smoked seafood, laced together with exciting spiciness, fresh vegetables, and the distinctive flavor of palm oil. This is a more complex version of Okra, Eggplant, and Fish Stew and is perfect for a special occasion.

We have made some adjustments to the Ghana recipe to make it easier to reproduce in the U.S.: Garden eggs (small egg-shaped eggplants) are replaced by purple eggplant; fresh crabs by tiger shrimp; the momoni (fermented fish with a pungent flavor and odor, especially beloved among many Ashanti in Ghana) by salted cod; the kpakpo shito peppers by jalapeno or habanero peppers; and the palm oil is lightened by mixing it with half canola oil; the amount of both salt and oil are reduced from the original Ghanaian version. Some people attempt to re-create the distinctive color (but not the flavor) of palm oil by mixing non-spicy paprika into a neutral oil like canola.

Ingredients

    Meat and Seasonings

  • 8 ounces stewing beef (or other meat, like lamb or goat), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced, crushed, or ground fresh garlic
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dried ground red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons seasoned salt or no-salt seasoning mixture of your choice
  • ¼ cup sliced or chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (or more to taste; or a hotter variety pepper like habanero, if desired), coarsely chopped (optional)

Stew

  • 1 1-inch piece salted cod (optional)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (such as peanut or canola)
  • ¼ cup palm oil (dzomi if available)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces onions or shallots, sliced or grated on a medium grater (about 1 cup grated, more if sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons Ground dried shrimp (or to taste; optional)
  • Additional hot fresh chili pepper (such as habanero) to taste or additional dried ground red pepper to taste (optional)
  • 8 ounces smoked fish, rinsed and bones and skin removed, or 6 ounces boneless
  • teaspoons ground or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fish seasoning (such as a packaged fish masala or curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • 6 to 8 large shrimps, tailed and deveined with shells left on

Method

Directions

Season the meat

  1. Put the cut meat into a heavy pot. Sprinkle the ginger, garlic, ground red pepper, and seasoned salt over it, mixing to coat it well. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sliced or chopped onion and the coarsely chopped fresh chili pepper over the meat, along with ½ cup of water.
  2. Heat the water to boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to allow the meat to simmer until almost tender, about 20 minutes, depending on the cut of meat. Add a little more water as it cooks if necessary to keep it from scorching. After the meat has steamed, remove from the heat until ready to proceed. (Remove the chopped peppers and the onion slices in the pot, if desired.)

Prepare other ingredients

  1. If using salted cod, soak in hot water for 10 minutes and then rinse.
  2. Seed and grate the tomatoes. Yield should be about 2 cups of tomato pulp and juice.
  3. Place the cubed eggplant in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until it is soft. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and puree in an electric blender or food processor. Set aside until needed.

Prepare the stew

  1. Put ¼ cup of vegetable oil and ¼ cup of palm oil into a heavy skillet or pot and sauté the salted cod and tomato paste for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the grated or sliced onions and sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Add the meat and the broth from cooking it (about 1/3 cup), the grated tomatoes with juice, the pureed eggplant, and the ground dried shrimp, if using. Mix well.
  4. Optional: For more heat, slice a habanero pepper partway through once or twice, and add it to the mixture. To increase the heat, push against the pepper as it cooks.
  5. Stir in the smoked fish, ground or grated fresh ginger, crushed garlic, fish seasoning, and salt. Simmer the stew for 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  6. Add the shrimp. Let simmer until the shrimp are cooked, and then check and adjust the seasonings, especially the spiciness and salt.

To serve

This stew goes with just about anything, especially yams, plantains, any kind of Ampesi, potatoes, gari, Eba, rice, Akple, Ga Kenkey. Offer the habanero in the stew (if using it) to anyone who wants it, or press it against the side of the pan to spice up the stew before removing it.

Variations

  • Omit the smoked fish and shrimp, or the meat, or substitute pig’s feet.
  • Substitute 4 to 6 small soft-shelled fresh cleaned crabs for the shrimp: clean the crabs, whack off the sharp edges of their shells, remove the underside where the mouth is, and trim the ends of the claws before adding.
  • Instead of softening and blending the eggplant, cut it into small pieces and add directly to the stew.