Ghanaian Red Stew with Red Beans and Fried Plantains


  • 1 cup red palm dende oil*
  • 2 cups red onion, small dice
  • 1 habañero pepper, seeded, minced
  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • ⅛ tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomatoes, medium dice
  • 8 cups dark red kidney beans, canned with liquid
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • To taste, ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp** (optional), minced,  soaked in ½ cup water
  • 2 ripe plantains, sliced on diagonal, 1 inch wheels
  • ½ cup oil for frying
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced ½ inch pieces
  • 6 flour tortillas, 12 inch, heated


  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add peppers, garlic, and ginger. Cook 1 minute, add cloves, curry powder, and bay leaf, and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add tomato paste, stir to incorporate, and add tomatoes. Cook 5-8 more minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Stir frequently.
  4. Add the red beans with their liquid to the tomato mixture. Add salt, pepper, and shrimp with its water (if using). If not using the shrimp, just add ¼ cup of water.
  5. Stirring occasionally, simmer on low for 15 minutes or until you reach a thick stew consistency. Add additional salt, if needed.
  6. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the plantains. Sauté until golden brown on both sides. Place the plantains on a paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil.
  7. Serve the Red Red Stew garnished with scallions, and with the fried plantains and tortillas.

*Dende oil is a fragrant, bright red oil from the fruit of the African Oil Palm, commonly used in parts of West Africa and Brazil. It can be purchased online or at Whole Foods.

** Dried shrimp are available at Asian markets or Whole Foods, and provides a wonderful depth of flavor.

Recipe developed by The Culinary Institute of America.