Red Miso Peanut Stew

"The most savoury of peanut sauces Today we are talking taste. We have five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami/savoury. Umami is roughly a translation of the Japanese word “deliciousness” and first described when Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda was trying to understand what made dashi so flavourful. Umami can be found in tomatoes, soy sauce, miso, seaweed, cured meats, fish sauce. When people say they miss meat, its not about the animal itself and most likely the umami flavour achieved when meat is grilled or fried. Thankfully, these umami flavours can be replicated through a combination of spices and condoments So let me introduce you to the most popular west african version of umami enhancers: Dawa Dawa/iru/netataou. I shared this peanut sauce a few posts back and mentioned that this sauce needs its own post. Well this is the post. A key way I have been able to give my food the stink and taste you might get from local soups and stews is because of the use of dawa dawa/fermented locust bean. Same locust beans family that carob(chocolate replacement) is part of.If you want to make West African stews with no meat, this my friend is an ingredient that will fool anyone that there is meat in your soups and stews. In West Africa, we have a number of fermented condiments made from oil seeds that when added to soups and stews give a nice pungent and delicious taste: dawa dawa from locust beans, ogiri from fermented melon seeds/sesame seeds and ogiri igbo from ferment castor seeds (yes the same one people cold press to make oil for hair). Aside from the flavour they give, these are also consumed because of medicinal properties. One thing I have learned about food across West Africa is that inherently, we like food that tastes good and makes us feel good."
-- @thecanadianafrican

A Note from Feedfeed

This beautiful tofu bowl uses dawadawa, or fermented African locust beans, as its secret ingredient! Used in many West African soups, stews and sauces, it brings a deep, umami flavor to this dish. The addition of red miso adds another level of flavor to this recipe, making it something you'll come back to again and again. 

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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 10mins
Cook time 25mins

Recipe Card


  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/3 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/3 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon red palm oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fermented locust beans (dawa dawa)
  • 1 teaspoon red miso
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 large handful spinach


  • Step 1

    In a food processor, blend the onion, tomato and scotch bonnet. Remove from the processor into medium bowl. Mix the peanut butter into the blended mixture and set aside.

  • Step 2

    In a large non-stick pan on medium heat, sear tofu until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  • Step 3

    Into the same skillet, add the palm oil and fermented locust beans. When the oil has heated, add in the blended sauce. Then add in the miso, spices and 1/2 cup of water.

  • Step 4

    Cover the sauce and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is nice and dry.

  • Step 5

    After, turn off the heat, taste for salt, then mix in the spinach. When the spinach has wilted, it is ready to serve on a bed of rice, or your preferred starch.