Chic African Culture Blog

All about palm oil and how to make palm oil vegetarian stew

The palm oil tree is also known as Elaeis Guineensis and is native to West and Southwest Africa. Nearly 85 percent of the world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia; the other major growing countries are Thailand, Colombia, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea.

Palm oil collecting in Africa

All About Palm Oil

African palm oil aka macaw-fat is the world’s most popular and most purchased vegetable oil making up about 35 percent of the total international trade in cooking oils. The Palm oil tree has many uses and no part of the tree goes to waste. The tree is used to make world-famous palm wine and local medicines. The leaves may also be used to make thatches, which are often used as roofing material in certain areas.

In West Africa, palm oil is a major food item and it is typically used for making goods with its natural flavor and red color having a unique effect on a dish. Palm oil can be harvested 12 months of the year accounting for 35 percent of the world's vegetable oil market.


Palm oil kernels
The palm oil tree is indigenous to West Africa, naturally occurring along the 300-mile coastline strip from the Gambia to Angola. Palm oil manufacturing in West Africa has two elementary types. The first, palm oil growing in wild grooves and second palm oil groves that are planted on plantations and small farms. Sustainability in the palm oil industry and emphasizing that producers only source palm oil has been produced in an ecological way is a major issue in the industry.

Palm oil is produced in countries in which there are large percentages of the world’s rainforests. Rainforests are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, as demand for palm oil grows worldwide. Certified sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil is produced by palm oil plantations that have been independently audited and found to comply with the globally agreed environmental standards devised by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

These stringent sustainability criteria related to social, environmental and economic good practice. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. 

Now that you know about palm oil, let's make an easy palm oil vegetarian stew recipe

The African Gourmet

African food recipe

Ghanaian red-red stew

Ghana bean tomato stew is made with black-eyed peas, palm oil, and tomatoes. Red-red is a Ghanaian food dish that gets its name from the red color of the ingredients, red palm oil, tomatoes, and tomato paste used to make the stew.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Palm Oil Vegetarian Stew

Ingredients

2 tablespoons palm oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 plantains, halved lengthwise and cut into chunks Directions Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 10 minutes or until golden and tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, ginger, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and peas and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until peas are tender and flavors blended. Stir in salt. Melt butter in a separate skillet over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium, add plantains and cook about 5 minutes or until browned on both sides, gently flipping halfway through cooking.  Serve alongside black-eyed peas in a shallow bowl.


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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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