African beef stew, is one of the ethnic stew recipes that you will very easily find in west African and sometimes carribean cuisine. This easy Nigerian red stew made is with simple ingredients like bell peppers, tomatoes, some herbs and aromatics and of cause boiled grilled or fried beef as the source of protein in this recipe not chicken as in my delicious African chicken stew.
Africa Beef Stew Recipe (Nigerian tomato stew)
If you come across African tomato sauce or Nigerian tomato stew you may be thinking it’s basically tomatoes in the stew. But it’s not. Some people use only tomatoes to make this recipe but I actually prefer a combination of tomatoes and bell peppers as I find it tastes much better than the former.
A stew with only tomatoes may taste more sour and acidic than a mix of tomatoes and bell peppers.
Ingredients needed to make this recipe
- Red bell peppers (Tatase)*
- Scotch bonnet/ habanero pepper (rodo)*
- Onions (lots of it)
*My Nigerian stew base can be used instead of the individual ingredients asterisked.
How to make African beef stew (Nigerian tomato stew)
*Below is a step by step photo guide. Full recipe instructions can be found in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
Pic 1-4; Season meat, cook and fry
Pic 5-8; Prepare the Stew base- blend and boil
Pic 9-11; Fry chopped onions
Pic 12-14; Finish off the stew
Difference between this recipe and tomato stew with palm oil.
The only difference between this stew and the stew Nigerian tomato stew with palm oil is palm oil. While vegetable oil is used here, palm oil bleached or unbleached is used in the other Nigerian stews with palm oil.
What is African stew served with
Though African stew or Nigerian tomato stew is usually served with steaming hot white rice. Notice the adjective hot 😀. It’s that important. But if you are like me and don’t like steaming hot food, you should definitely wait for your rice to cool down.
Other recipes that go perfectly well with this recipe, is listed below;
- Fried plantains
- Boiled or fried yams
- French fries
- Hawaiian sweet rolls or Soft white bread.
- Vegetable rice
- If serving with rice, a side coleslaw, cucumber salad or Cobb salad would work perfectly.
Make ahead instructions and how to store.
African tomato sauce can be made well ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week it and can be frozen for up to 4 months.
To freeze, let stew cool completely. Distribute into microwave safe bowl and freeze.
You can reheat straight from the freezer or let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Quick Recipe Notes and Tips
- Like every other Ethnic stew like Nigerian green stew (aka ayamase stew), Ofe akwu, Nigerian Palm oil stew etc, saving time is it the essence. If you have the stew base prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer, it would save you a lot of time. But if you don’t here are a few things you can do if you have time.
- Wash your tomatoes onions and peppers, blend them and cook them down to reduce your cooking time. When cooled, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator to use the next day. If you are using this stew base, you will need to increase the amount of beef used to about 3 lbs and the oil by half a cup.
- Alternatively roast your bell tomatoes, bell peppers onions and habanero peppers in the oven. This is my preferred method because it more handsfree than the first method. Blend and store for later use. See my how to roast peppers guide for tips and tricks.
- Preparing your meats ahead can save you time as well. Wash your beef, season, boil then fry or you grill in the oven or air fryer.
- This recipe can be halved to make a smaller pot off african stew.
- If you are using this stew base, you will need to increase the amount of beef used to about 3 lbs and the oil by half a cup.
- This recipe can be halved to make a smaller pot off african stew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes African beef stew is keto and low carb friendly
It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. If storing for a longer period of time, store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
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African beef Stew
For the beef
- 2.5 lb beef Cut into 3 inch cubes
- ½ medium Onion Chopped
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder (use 2 cloves of fresh garlic)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon boiullon powder (adjust to your taste)
- ¼ tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme
For the Stew base
- 8 large Red bell peppers Washed, and cut up for blending
- 5 medium Tomatoes
- 2 habanero peppers (Adjust upwards or downwards)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste ( optional)
- 2 cups oil
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon boiullon powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dry parsley
- ½ Tbsp Pepper flakes
- Add beef to pot, add spices and onions, turn on heat and cook till beef softens. depending on the toughness of the beef, it can take anywhere between 20 to 35 mins. ( internal temperature of fully cooked beef should be 145F when measured with a meat thermometer)
- When meat is fully cooked, scoop the beef out with a slotted spoon , reserve the beef stock for the stew, then fry beef in shallow oil for 3-5 mins (see images 3 and 4 in collage above) Set aside to drain on a clean kitchen towel.
The Stew Base
- While beef is cooking Blend all ingredients for stew base together and transfer to another pot and cook till it reduces and thickens.
Making the Stew
- Heat up oil a sauce pan then add the chopped onions reserved for the stew. (see Ingredients list) Fry onions till transluscent.
- Pour meat stock into the thickened stew base, spices and the cooked onion in oil into the stew base. Stir to combine. the oil may look too much at this stage don't worry, the stew base will absorb it.
- Cook on medium heat for 10 mins, stirring occasioinally to prevent burning.
- Lower heat, add fried beef to the stew, stir taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Cover pot and let stew simmer for another 5 mins so that the meat can warm up and absorb the stew flavors.
- Frying the beef and making the stewbase ahead of time will save you a alot of cooking time.
- Once youd add the oil to the stew base, and it starts cooking, it will begin to bubble and splatter. use a splatter guard or leave the pot closed. when you want to stir, turn the heat low to prevent being hit by the bubbling stew.
- The oil is just enough for this recipe. if you want to use less oil, I would suggest you use the amount stated first. If you still find it too much, scoop out the excess and use for some egusi stew or egg sauce.
- Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.