Spinach & Agushi Curry

October 19, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Bette Blau Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Here’s my twist on traditional Kontomire or nkontomire stew—a delicious vegan spinach curry, to which you can add extra steamed veg of your choice to make it into a more substantial meal. —Zoe Adjonyoh

Test Kitchen Notes

Excerpted with permission from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen © 2017 by Zoe Adjonyoh, 2017. Published by Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Chalé Sauce
  • 200 grams (7 oz) canned tomatoes or 300 grams (10 oz) fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 small white onion, roughly diced
  • 1 (1-inch/2.5cm) piece fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 small red Scotch bonnet chile (use half and de-seed if you have a low heat tolerance or substitute ½ teaspoon cayenne for a milder heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves (optional)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon extra-hot Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-hot chile powder
  • Spinach & Agushi Curry
  • 2 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 150 to 300 milliliters (5 to 10fl oz) water or good-quality vegetable stock, if required
  • 350 milliliters (12fl oz) Chalé Sauce
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) or about 2 heaped tablespoons agushi (dried ground melon seeds)
  • 6-8 grains of selim (guinea peppers), crushed (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 100 grams (7 oz) baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon okra sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed alligator pepper (grains of paradise)
  • Plantain (optional)
  • 4 to 6 ripe yellow plantains
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • sea salt
  1. Make the chalé sauce: Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend together until you have a fairly smooth paste. Use straight away, or leave to cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for future use.
  2. Start the curry: Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan and add the coconut oil. When it has melted, add the onion and sauté over a medium heat for a few minutes until softened, then add the curry and chili powders and stir well.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir through, cooking out for a few more minutes. Then add a little of the stock to deglaze the pan. Stir in the chalé sauce and simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes until the tartness of the tomatoes has dissipated.
  4. Gradually incorporate the agushi, using the back of a wooden spoon to break down any lumps that may form. Slowly add half the remaining stock so the agushi doesn't catch at the bottom of the pan. The sauce should start to turn creamy and resemble scrambled eggs. Add the guinea peppers, if using, and the lime juice. Leave to simmer over a medium heat for a further 10 to 15 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the remaining water or vegetable stock a little at a time to loosen it. The color of the stew will have changed from pink to a deep mustard.
  5. Stir in the spinach and sea salt and black pepper, then simmer gently for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the plantain, if making. Preheat the broiler. Using a sharp knife, peel the plantains by cutting the tips off each end and slicing through the skin lengthways (avoid cutting into the flesh), then use your hands to remove the skin. Cut the plantains in half lengthways. Rub with the dry spices, and drizzle with coconut or olive oil. Broil for 12 to 15 minutes, turning over halfway through until the edges are fully caramelized. Serve alongside the spinach curry.

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