Ghanaian Beef Stew

Cooking a traditional Ghanaian beef stew is a wonderful opportunity to combine the finest ingredients to produce a fiery and delicious main course for family and friends.

West Africans often like to cook dishes that are seriously hot which in most cases is achieved by the liberal use of hot chili peppers. My first experiences with the Ghanaian and West African cuisine go back nearly 30 years when I became friends with lots of Ghanaian refugees. Apart from playing football together we shared traditional cooking recipes with with each other. In those days I was still a complete novice when it came to eating spicy food and so we often ended up making one pot of food for Ekoh Mensa and the other lads and a milder version for me :-). I won't 

forget the smiles on their faces when I tried one of their stews for the very first time and although it was very delicious it was as well a few notches to hot for my taste buds. But as I learned over the years the tolerance levels for hot food increase with time and I have become a lover of spicy dishes. In my opinion the most important thing when cooking with hot chilies is to not overdo it. It is such a disappointment if one tastes a wonderful looking stew or curry only to find out that it has been killed with the overuse of chili which led to the taste buds being numbed not being able to taste and enjoy a single bite of an eagerly awaited meal. That is why I strongly advise to initially rather add small amounts of chili to the dish to see how spicy the gravy or curry will become and only at a later stage to add more chili if so desired. This beef stew is prepared with Carolina Reaper chili powder which is regarded as the hottest chili in the world. So I advise you to don't add more than 1/2 tsp. of chili in the beginning. This will be enough to spice up the stew and add the intense flavors and fruitiness of the Carolina Reaper to the dish.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 120 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 2 H 15 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 4

Ghanaian Beef Stew

  • 1/2 cup red palm oil
  • 500 gram stewing beef, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into halve moon rings
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 leek,chopped into rings, washed and drained
  • 70 gram / 2.46 oz tomato paste
  • 1 kg / 2.2 pounds ripe peeled, tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp. palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp. Carolina Reaper chili powder
  • 2 tsp. granulated chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs


  • Add oil to a large skillet / pan and turn stove to hot heat
  • Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper and add to the skillet
  • Sear meat till brown, remove from pan and put aside for the time being
  • Reduce heat to medium, add onions to the and saute for 10 minutes or till they are golden brown on all sides, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, bay leaves, cloves, tomato paste, palm sugar and leeks and saute for 2 minutes
  • Add meat with its juices, salt, pepper, Carolina Reaper 
  • chili, chicken stock and tomatoes, stir well, reduce heat and gently simmer stew for 30 minutes, stirring it a few times
  • If the stew has reduced to much add 1/2 cup of water, stir, cover with lid and once the stew is beginning to boil again, reduce the heat and gently simmer for 60 minutes, stirring it a few times during this time
  • Add herbs, stir stew briefly, sample some sauce and adjust seasoning if so desired and serve Ghanaian beef stew hot with steamed rice or fufu and okra

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