AFRICAN YAM AND PEANUT STEW (vegan version)

This is based on a recipe called "Pea Chop (Peanut and Chicken Stew) (Africa)" from the "Peanuts" section of Jeff Smith's "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American." In his blurb, he explains why this is relevent to put in a book about American cooking. Good enough. Unfortunately, he doesn't say where in Africa the recipe came from, so I can't vouch for its authenticity since even he doesn't. Therefore, I feel no remorse at all in tweaking the recipe to make it vegan and add yams and potatoes and peppers and whatever else catches my whim. (And if you know me, you know that my cooking style is very whim-based, and thus it's a challenge for me to actually write down a recipe. But then, if you know me, you also know that I love a challenge.)

Serves 6 hungry people.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

If using So Soya or TVP: heat 4 cups of veggie broth to near-boiling, and pour over the So Soya or TVP. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Cut the yams and potatoes (and other vegetables) into chunks. If you are pressed for time, microwave the yams, potatoes, and carrots for 5 minutes or so to soften them -- not to mushiness, just till they cut easily with a spoon.

Stir 1/2 c or so of broth into the peanut butter and mix well.

Put the So Soya (or other protein thang), the vegetables, the peanut sauce, and some more broth into a large soup pot. Add finely chopped hot peppers, salt, dill, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, etc. Bring to a near-boil, then simmer for at least half an hour. (You'll need an hour or more if you've not pre-softened the potatoes et al.) If you want it thicker, add some water to cornstarch in a separate bowl and add to the stew. Start with 3 T cornstarch and 1/2 c water. Get all the lumps out, then stir quickly into the stew.

While the stew is simmering, toast the coconut on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees until just turning golden. Don't burn it! This goes quickly; keep an eye on it.

Also while the stew is simmering, sautee the bananas in vegetable oil (peanut oil if you have it), or use butter if you're not vegan.

To serve:

Serve this stew buffet style. Each person puts some rice down on their plate, then stew on top of that, then bananas, pineapple, chopped peanuts, and toasted coconut. I also put out some extra diced hot peppers for those who like it really hot!