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As someone who loves to cook Nigerian food, there’s nothing quite like a steaming hot plate of white rice and Nigerian chicken stew. With its tantalizingly spicy and subtle smoky flavor, it’s a dish that brings me closer to my heritage every time I make it.

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Nigerian chicken stew

And today, I’m sharing my personal recipe for the ultimate Nigerian chicken stew – a hearty and flavorful combination that tastes like heaven, if heaven had a flavor.

As a young child, one of my favorite days of the week was Sunday. Sunday, not because I got to hang out with my friends at Sunday school, but Sunday because I knew I’d savor the flavor of rice and stew.

And if my parents had a great business week, a cold cup of soda (soft drink) would be served on the side! Those were the days.?

Anyways, if you love chicken, you’re in for a treat in 45 minutes or less!

What Is Nigerian Stew?

Nigerian stew, also known as African tomato stew, is a Nigerian delicacy that is popular in the whole of West Africa.

It is made with a mixture of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, tomato paste, and spices fried in vegetable oil.

It can be made in different ways and called different names depending on the type of protein used.

For example, there is Nigerian fish stew made with fresh fish, Nigerian beef stew made with beef, Nigerian chicken stew made with chicken, and Nigerian turkey stew made with turkey.

how to cook nigerian stew

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to prepare – Nigerian chicken stew is one of the easiest Nigerian recipes out there. You don’t need to be a pro to get a delicious one on the first try
  • Super delicious – This stew is super tasty, you will fall in love with it after a single taste.
  • Easily customizable – You can tweak this recipe as much as you want.

What Does Nigerian Chicken Stew Taste Like?

Nigerian chicken stew has a taste ranging from umami to slightly sour to spicy. The rich umami taste is from the chicken, the sour taste is from the tomatoes, and the spicy taste is from the different kinds of peppers added.

This savory stew provides a truly enjoyable experience with an intense depth of flavor and an unmistakable warmth that lingers on the tongue after each bite.

Is Nigerian Chicken Stew Healthy?

It depends. Nigerian chicken stew can be considered a healthy meal option as long as it is not overcooked or cooked in excess amounts of unhealthy fats.

nigerian stew chicken recipe

What Are The Benefits Of Nigerian Chicken Stew?

It’s packed with protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals which provide essential nutrition for daily life.

  • High Fiber Content: The multiple vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onions…) used in the recipe make it a high-fiber dish, aiding digestion and overall health.
  • Unrivaled Flavor: It is made with slow-cooked chicken (high iron and calcium content) and doesn’t lack flavor.
  • Budget-Friendly: Many people use this recipe to create family meals as it’s easy to prepare, cost-effective, and always delicious.

Ingredients for Nigerian Chicken Stew

  • Fresh chickenFresh chicken gives this African tomato stew its umami chicken flavor. You can use any preferred chicken parts, like chicken drumsticks, chicken breasts, chicken legs, chicken thighs, or chicken wings. Chicken wings were used in this recipe.
  • Scotch bonnet pepperScotch bonnet pepper, also known as ata rodo, adds spice to this delicious stew. Depending on how much heat your taste buds can take, you can reduce or increase the number of peppers.
  • Fresh tomatoes These raw tomatoes add sour tomato flavor to this stew. The best tomatoes to use are plum tomatoes. They prevent excess water – you want your Nigerian chicken stew to be thick.
  • Red bell peppersRed bell peppers are the sweetest of all kinds of bell peppers. These peppers’ sweet, citrusy taste makes this African chicken stew tastier.
  • OnionOnions have an intense flavor that makes this stew more delicious. The onions are used in two ways in this recipe. While some are chopped to be sauteed in this stew, others are ground with peppers and tomatoes.
  • Chicken broth – Chicken broth or chicken stock is the flavorful liquid from boiled chicken. Adding it to this stew means adding the nutrients lost from the chicken while boiling. I always make my chicken broth from scratch.
  • ThymeThyme seasoning has a complex flavor that ranges from woodsy to minty to earthy. It is added to this stew to boost the aroma and make it more delicious.
  • Curry powderCurry powder is made from spices like turmeric, cumin, and bay leaf. Each ingredient gives curry a distinct flavor ranging from earthy to spicy. Like thyme, curry powder is used to boost the aroma of Nigerian chicken stews. 
  • SeasoningAdd seasoning cube or powder to taste. The seasoning used should be chicken seasoning like knorr chicken cube or powder, Maggi chicken flavor cube, and so on.
  • SaltAdd salt to taste.
  • Fresh vegetable oilVegetable oil is used for frying the stew. It is recommended to use healthy vegetable oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or sesame oil to make the stew healthy.
nigerian chicken stew ingredients

Tools Needed To Prepare Nigerian Chicken Stew

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Nigerian Chicken Stew

Scotch Bonnet Pepper

You can substitute scotch bonnet peppers with other forms of hot pepper like habanero pepper, red chili pepper, and jalapeno pepper. These peppers work the same way as scotch bonnet pepper in the stew.

Chicken Broth

If you’re short on time, you can buy chicken broth at your local grocery store. I’ve tried using premade chicken broth, but my Nigerian chicken stew did not turn out great. It was ok, just ok. It lacked that oomph!

Tin tomato paste

Tin tomato paste can be an additional ingredient in your stew. It is a concentrated form of fresh, pureed tomato.

It has a very intense flavor caused by deep boiling to remove all the water content. Many people add this tomato to their stew to get a deeper red color and intensify the tomatoes’ taste.

Ginger

You can also add ginger to your Nigerian chicken stew if you like. It adds its distinctive aroma to the stew. However, this is totally optional.

To add ginger;

  • Peel the skin from ginger root
  • Cut it into pieces in the same bowl with unblended fresh tomatoes and peppers.
  • Grind the mixture together in a blender.

If you cannot get ginger root, use ginger powder as a substitute.

Black Pepper Spice

Black pepper spice made from peppercorn seeds or Cameroon pepper can be used to add extra spice to your stew. These spices are highly aromatic.

You will literally get the traditional African aroma of your cooking stew from the third room. Cameroon pepper is SUPER hot, approach with caution.?

Bay Leaf

Adding bay leaves to your chicken stew will add a subtle depth of flavor to the stew, making it more relishing.

Curry Powder

I grew up ALWAYS adding curry powder to my stew. Now, I use this optionally. I think I secretly got tired of eating curry every time. I love a good change!

How to Cook Nigerian Chicken Stew (Step-by-Step)

Ingredients

Instructions

STEP 1: Season the pre-cooked chicken wings (see below) with some seasoning powder and salt.

STEP 2: Sauté both sides of the chicken in a frying pan lightly covered with olive oil. Save the olive oil. Alternatively, you can use an air fryer to air fry the chicken until golden brown.

Step 2 - how to make nigerian chicken stew

STEP 3: Next, sauté the chopped onion in the same frying pan. You can add more oil if needed.

Step 3 - how to make nigerian chicken stew

STEP 4: Add the pepper and tomato mixture and increase the temperature to medium heat. High heat may cause the food to burn.

Step 4 - how to make nigerian chicken stew

STEP 5: Add the chicken broth and seasoning (thyme, salt, bouillon powder, and curry) and correct the flavor as desired. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes (up to 45 minutes if the stew is runny), frequently stirring to prevent burn.

Step 5 - how to make nigerian chicken stew
Step 5b - how to make nigerian chicken stew

STEP 6: Add the browned chicken and cook for another 5 minutes or until desired texture is achieved.

Step 6 - how to make nigerian chicken stew

STEP 7: Serve hot with a side of white rice, pasta, or even bread.

* Precook the chicken wings with curry powder, black pepper, thyme, salt, and seasoning cube for 15-20 minutes until tender. Set chicken broth aside.

What To Serve With Nigerian Chicken Stew

Did I forget to mention how versatile Nigerian chicken stew is? You can make a big pot of this stew and serve it throughout the week with any of these:

  • Rice dishes like white rice, brown rice, and cauliflower rice for a low-carb diet
  • Boiled yam
  • Boiled pasta
  • Boiled plantain
  • Couscous
  • Bread <- I recently introduced the hubs to this combo paired with these Hawaiian rolls heated for 10 seconds! Agege bread or white bread are great options.

This stew is also added to some plain Nigerian stews to eat swallow foods. These stews include;

Easy Nigerian Ewedu Soup
recipe for okra soup nigerian

Tips About Making Nigerian Chicken Stew

  • This stew should be cooked on medium heat. This is because the tomatoes in the stew quickly get stuck to the pot, so if you cook on high heat, the stew will burn and be unpalatable. For best results, use a nonstick pot.
  • Adding a lot of water while blending the tomatoes and peppers is not advisable. I use this food processor, which blends the vegetable without any water. If you must add water, add a little at a time, as it’ll increase the cooking time. The goal is to avoid ending up with stew that is runny.
  • Depending on how much heat your palate can take, you can reduce or increase the number of peppers added to this stew.

How To Store Nigerian Chicken Stew

Keep Nigerian chicken stew in a glass storage with a fitting cover and store it in the fridge or freezer. I recommend glass because plastic storage bowls might get stained.

This stew will last for one week in the fridge and about three months in the freezer.

When ready to eat it again, heat on medium heat until the delicious texture is revived.

nigerian rice and stew

Can You Leave Stew Out Overnight?

No, it is not advisable to leave your stew out overnight. According to the USDA, leaving your stew out for more than two hours can cause the growth of bacteria in it.

Why Does Stew Taste Better The Next Day?

Stew tastes better the next day because the taste of the proteins, like chicken in this recipe, would have soaked well into the stew the next day.

If you’ve ever tasted a second-day pot of beans or refried beans, it’s the same theory.

How Do You Thicken Nigerian Stew?

There are two ways to thicken Nigerian stew.

Cornflour method – this involves mixing a teaspoon of cornflour in a small amount of water and pouring it into the stew.

The stew is then put to boil for some minutes till you get the thickness you want. This method is very complicated because the traditional taste could be lost.

The boiling method – involves removing the meats and fish in the stew and boiling it for as long as possible until the desired thickness is acquired.

This method is the best because it keeps the African taste intact.

nigerian chicken stew and rice

FAQ About Nigerian Chicken Stew

Can I put a warm stew in the fridge?

Putting warm stew in the fridge is a no-no. The temperature difference between the stew and other substances in the fridge can cause bacterial growth, which could make your stew go bad.

How can I make my stew tastier?

There are different ways to make your stew tastier;
-You can try balancing the spices or adding a touch of garlic cloves, parsley, thyme, or seasoning powder/cubes.
-You can also try using roasted peppers to make your stew tastier. This is done by putting the peppers in the oven tray and heating it for about 2-3 minutes. This method will intensify the pepper flavor in your stew.
-One other option is to add smoked chicken to your pot of stew. That tocopherol flavor hits differently!

Can you reheat stew?

Yes, you can reheat the stew when it is too cold.

What spices pair well with chicken?

A simple mixture of herbs like cumin, garlic or ginger, thyme, curry, ground black peppers, salt, and chicken seasoning powder will make your chicken very delicious.

Nigerian chicken stew

Nigerian Chicken Stew

Yield: 1 pot
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

With its tantalizingly spicy and subtle smoky flavor from peppers and tomatoes, this Nigerian chicken stew is a hearty and flavorful combination of pure goodness!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp bouillon powder (seasoning powder)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 habanero pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Season the pre-cooked chicken wings (see below) with some seasoning powder and salt.
  2. Sauté both sides of the chicken in a frying pan lightly covered with olive oil. Save the olive oil. Alternatively, you can use an air fryer to air fry the chicken until golden brown.
  3. Next, sauté the chopped onion in the same frying pan. You can add more oil if needed.
  4. Add the pepper and tomato mixture and increase the temperature to medium heat. High heat may cause the food to burn.
  5. Add the chicken broth and seasoning (thyme, salt, bouillon powder, and curry) and correct the flavor as desired. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes (up to 45 minutes if the stew is runny), frequently stirring to prevent burn.
  6. Add the browned chicken and cook for another 5 minutes or until desired texture is achieved.
  7. Serve hot with a side of white rice, pasta, or even bread.

* Precook the chicken wings with curry powder, black pepper, thyme, salt, and seasoning cube for 15-20 minutes until tender. Set chicken broth aside.

Notes

  • I try to cook the meat ahead of time. I store both the pre-cooked chicken and chicken broth in the freezer. This makes cooking this Nigerian chicken stew faster, especially if you’re in a pinch.
  • If you used too much water to blend your tomatoes, you could strain the excess water using a fine mesh sieve. This will help reduce cooking time.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 27g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

Cooking Nigerian chicken stew is an easy, delicious way to add a flavorful twist to regular recipes.

Whether it’s for dinner or a special occasion, this recipe will leave your taste buds delighted and your belly full.?

If you put in the time and effort, your stew will be cooked to perfection every time. Bon appetit!

nigerian chicken curry recipe

Just for kicks and giggles: What did the Nigerian chicken stew say to its creator?

Answer: “You dey chop me, you dey enjoy!”

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