Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale
We often add ocas to vegetable stews when we have them, but rarely do they get to be the star of the show. This vegan oca peanut stew changes all that and allows the ocas to shine in their own right. The ocas are simmered in a rich tomato and peanut concoction which complements their brisk lemony notes beautifully. Kale adds a splash of colour and a whole heap of additional nourishment.
Guild of Oca Breeders
We haven’t had the time or space to grow our own oca for a while now, but we have occasionally found some in our fortnightly veg box. Last week we received a fabulous box of mixed ocas from a member of the Guild of Oca Breeders. CT founded GOB, as he likes to call it, a few years ago along with a group of other oca enthusiasts. It’s an attempt to breed ocas that will grow much better in our climate. Like potatoes before them, ocas come from the Andes where days and nights are roughly equal. That’s what they need to form tubers. We need our ocas to tuberise much earlier in the season, so they have a chance to grow to a decent size.
The most common oca you’re likely to find is the pink one, which has the sharpest notes. But ocas come in all shapes, sizes, flavours and textures. Some are relatively bland and floury. This may not sound that exciting, but they are my personal favourite. Some are sweet and waxy in texture and some have distinctive lemon tones. Sadly, the beautiful colours fade with cooking. Not completely, but they are no longer vibrant.
I’ve written about oca in much more detail in my recipe post for chilli roasted oca with hedgerow pesto.
How Do You Prepare Oca For Cooking?
Oca are pretty easy to prepare for cooking. If you grow your own, they may require a good bit of scrubbing, depending on what soil type you have. But if you buy them, they are most likely to come pre-washed. If this is the case, you only need to give them a quick shake in a bowl of water. The bottoms of the tubers might need trimming, but that’s it, job done.
Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale
My vegan oca peanut stew is loosely based on the classic West African peanut stew. This is a stew of meat or vegetables cooked in a rich peanut and tomato sauce. Most vegetarian and vegan versions I’ve come across are made with sweet potato. This is delicious too and if you really can’t get hold of any ocas, then do substitute them for sweet potatoes.
The stew is both filling and nourishing, so it can be served in a bowl just as it is. However, if you’re hungry, it’s good served with crusty bread or even cooked brown rice.
Kale also features in this vegan oca peanut stew. It’s tasty, nutritious and easy to get hold of these days, but you can actually use whatever greens you like. Any sort of cabbage would be good, especially spring greens. I’ve made it with the leaves from purple sprouting broccoli before and that worked really well too. If you add something tender like spinach, do so just a few minutes before the stew is ready for serving so the leaves don’t go too mushy.
If you use peanut butter, as I have done, it makes this vegan oca peanut stew really easy to prepare. I’ve gone for a smooth version as I don’t like the idea of crunchy bits in a stew, but if you prefer crunchy peanut butter, please go ahead and use it instead.
Tomatoes aren’t in season at the moment, so tinned tomatoes can be used to make this vegan oca peanut stew recipe. However, I ended up with four large tomatoes in my veg box last week, so I used fresh tomatoes.
For this recipe, I kept the smaller ocas whole and cut the larger ones in half. If you were just boiling them straight, they’d take about 15 minutes to cook, but simmering in a stew they take a little longer. They are at their best in this vegan oca peanut stew when they are soft but still holding their shape. Unlike potatoes, oca can be eaten raw. So if some of the ocas aren’t completely soft and you’re getting impatient to eat, it won’t matter at all.
I’m linking my vegan oca peanut stew up to #CookOnceEatTwice with Searching for Spice and #CookBlogShare with Easy Peasy Foodie.
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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this vegan oca peanut stew, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
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Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale – The Recipe
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 onions - finely chopped
- 700 g ocas - tips cut off if needed and larger tubers cut in half (can substitute sweet potatoes)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 large tomatoes - chopped (or 400g chopped tinned tomatoes)
- 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- thumb sized knob of root ginger - finely grated
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ - 1 tsp chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- good grinding of black pepper
- 4 tbsp peanut butter (I prefer smooth)
- 150 g kale - tough stalks removed & leaves roughly chopped
- Coriander leaves - roughly chopped (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the onions gently for 5 minutes.
- Add the cumin seeds and ocas. Stir and cover the pot with a lid. Cook gently for 10 minutes.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except the kale and peanut butter, together with 500ml water. Stir, bring to the boil and simmer covered for another 10 minutes.
- Take some of the liquid out of the stew and mix with the peanut butter to make a pourable sauce. Add back to the stew and stir. Throw in the kale and simmer with the pot covered for a further 10 minutes. Check everything is cooked to your liking. Give the whole thing a good stir, then ladle into bowls and scatter with some chopped coriander leaves if liked.
You may need to add a little less water if using tinned tomatoes. Start with 400ml and add more if needed.
You can serve the stew just as it is for a lighter meal or with some crusty bread for something a bit more substantial. It's also very good with cooked brown rice.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.