Kid-friendly Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

Recipe: Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by marekuliasz/Shutterstock.com
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
55 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

Sweet potatoes will always have a place in recipe author Dylan's pantry! In fact, they’re on the menu at least twice a week at his house, often in the form of baked sweet potato fries, sometimes topped with caramelized onions. YUM!! This Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew is a departure from Dylan's routine. In lieu of baking, these sweet ‘taters are stewed in a creamy, spicy broth alongside red peppers, onions, and tomato. Talk about comfort food! And there's more...

West African soups and stews are often served with “swallows” - starchy foods like plantains, cassava, yams - that have been ground, boiled, and shaped into little balls. before being SWALLOWED, hence the name! Eba is one such swallow that is commonly served in Nigeria. We recommend dipping eba into stew before swallowing!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • dice :

    to cut foods into small pieces of equal size so that the food is cooked evenly or looks uniform and pleasant when used in the recipe.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • roll :

    to use a rolling pin to flatten dough; use your hands to form a roll or ball shape; or move a round food, like a grape or a meatball, through another food, like sugar or breadcrumbs, to coat it.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • season :

    to add flavor to food with spices, herbs, and salt.

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Can opener
  • Ladle
  • Large bowls
  • Small bowls
scale
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2X
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Ingredients

Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

  • Dumplings:
  • 2 C water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 C cassava flour (if unavailable, use 1/2 C tapioca flour + 1/2 C all-purpose flour (or 1/2 C gluten-free flour for GLUTEN ALLERGY))
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or curry powder for color (optional)
  • Stew:
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • 1 can coconut milk **(for COCONUT ALLERGY sub 1 C whole milk/for COCONUT/DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1 C dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Food Allergen Substitutions

Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

  • Gluten/Wheat: If substituting 1 C cassava flour in the Eba Dumplings, use 1/2 C tapioca flour + 1/2 C gluten-free flour.
  • Coconut: Substitute 1 C whole milk for 1 can of coconut milk in Stew.
  • Coconut/Dairy: Substitute 1 C dairy-free/nut-free milk for 1 can of coconut milk in Stew.

Instructions

Savory South African Sweet Potato Stew with Eba Dipping Dumplings

1.
boil + measure + mix

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large pot. Measure 1 cup of cassava flour into a small bowl. For colorful dumplings, add 1/2 teaspoon paprika for red or 1/2 teaspoon curry powder for yellow to the small bowl of cassava flour. When the water is at a rolling boil, dump all the flour and optional spices into the water and stir with a wooden spoon.

2.
stir continuously + cool

While stirring, the flour and water will combine and form a thick ball of dough. Stir continuously for 5 minutes on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the pot and place in a large bowl. Cool until the dough is comfortable to touch. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes.

3.
shape + dip

Divide the dough into as many balls as you can make, roughly 12 small or 4 large dumplings. Roll the ball of dough around in between your hands until it is smooth and round. Set aside until the stew is finished.

4.
dice + sauté

Dice 1/2 onion, 1 sweet potato, 1 bell pepper, and 1 tomato. Then, measure and pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a large pot. Heat the oil over medium heat. Place a single piece of diced sweet potato in the pot and, once it starts to sizzle, pour the rest of the sweet potato in the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir the sweet potato frequently. After 5 minutes, add the rest of the diced vegetables and sauté for another 5 minutes.

5.
measure + season + stir

Measure the 3 cups of vegetable stock and combine with 1 can coconut milk in a large bowl and set to the side. Measure the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon curry powder in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the mixture of spices to the large pot of vegetables and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the mixture of vegetable stock and coconut milk to the large pot.

6.
simmer + reduce

Measure 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 3 teaspoons water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture to the large pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the stew is reduced by one cup of liquid. Before serving, taste the stew for seasoning and adjust the flavor. For more flavor add a pinch of salt and, for less spiciness, add 1/4 cup of water. Stir to incorporate.

7.
simmer + serve

Place the dough into the stew leaving a little space between each one. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 more minutes (or more!) until ready to serve!

Surprise Ingredient: Sweet Potato!

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Photo by yamasan0708/Shutterstock.com

Hi!  I’m Sweet Potato!

"Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, like beets and carrots! We're very popular in the Fall, especially for holiday dinners, where you might find us baked whole or sliced and diced as part of a side dish. We also pair well with fruit and other vegetables in salads and casseroles."

History

  • The sweet potato originated in Central or South America, and people began cultivating them in Central America at least 5,000 years ago. 
  • Sweet potatoes have been grown in Peru for almost 3,000 years and remain one of the major crops for people in Peru.
  • When Columbus arrived in the New World, Native Americans were already growing and utilizing sweet potatoes. Columbus brought sweet potatoes back to Europe, and other explorers brought them from the New World to Asia.
  • Sweet potatoes were cultivated widely in Colonial America and were a significant form of sustenance for farmers and soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
  • As far as records show, orange sweet potatoes originally came from Puerto Rico and were named "yams" by Louisiana farmers to differentiate them from the white-fleshed variety grown in other parts of the country. Indeed, the sweet potato is officially the state vegetable of Louisiana! It's also North Carolina's official state vegetable.
  • George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  • North American supermarkets import much of their sweet potatoes from the Caribbean.
  • February is National Sweet Potato month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Sweet potatoes are edible roots, not tubers like potatoes. Actually, sweet potatoes aren't related to potatoes but are part of the Morning Glory family. Plants from this family produce beautiful flowers whose seeds were revered for their laxative properties by the Chinese.
  • The flesh of sweet potatoes can be white, yellow, orange, or even purple! 
  • Enslaved African-Аmericans called the sweet potato "nyami" because it reminded them of the starchy, edible tuber from their homeland. "Nyami" is a Senegalese word that was eventually shortened to "yam." Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, and this is why!

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Sweet potatoes are eaten by people worldwide as they are a hearty crop that packs a lot of nutrition.
  • It's best to store sweet potatoes in cool, dark, and dry places. They won't last as long in the fridge. 
  • Small, firm sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter and creamier. Large sweet potatoes contain more starch, as they've had more time to grow and develop the starches. Look for smooth, firm, even skin.
  • Sweet potatoes should be cooked, not eaten raw. You can use them in many savory and sweet recipes.
  • Sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish—you can bake, mash, or boil them—and their nutritional benefits are increased when combined with healthy fats, like avocado, butter, or olive oil!
  • If they had their say, sweet potatoes might like to be known as everyday veggies rather than just for special occasions. For example, we in the United States eat more sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving than at any other time. But sweet potatoes are available year-round and should be enjoyed more often because of their benefits!

Nutrition

  • Sweet potatoes are very nutritious! Their color can tell us which nutrients they contain (like many vegetables and fruits!). 
  • If a sweet potato is orange, it contains beta-carotene (other orange foods that contain this nutrient include carrots, shrimp, and oranges). Can you hear the name of a familiar vegetable in the word "beta-carotene?" Carrot! We know that beta-carotene is good for our eyes and skin. Have you ever been asked to eat your carrots because they are good for your eyes? Beta-carotene is why! 
  • Sweet potatoes also have vitamin K, which helps our blood clot. When we get a cut, our blood clots to stop the bleeding, and vitamin K helps with this!
  • We often talk about fiber when we reveal our Surprise Ingredients because vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Sweet potatoes are no exception. So what does fiber help with? Digestion! And which body parts are responsible for digestion? Many, but namely our stomach and intestines.

History of Stew!

Photo by Ronald Sumners/Shutterstock.com (Irish stew)
  • Humans have been making stew since ancient times! Food historians say there is evidence of a stew made in Japan sometime during the Jōmon period (14,000-300 BCE). Tribes from the Amazon Rainforest used turtle shells to cook stew over a fire. Other cultures used the shells of mollusks to boil their stew.
  • A stew is a combination of solid foods, usually tough meats and vegetables, cooked on the stove or in the oven in a liquid, like water or stock, sometimes with added wine, at low temperature for one to three hours. The meat becomes tender, and gravy is created due to the slow cooking process, making the stew thick and hearty.
  • Brown stews are made with seared red meat, browned and diced vegetables, browned flour, brown stock, and sometimes red wine. The diced vegetables are called a "mirepoix" (MEER-pwah), part of French cuisine, typically consisting of carrots, celery, and onions. A stew may also include legumes, noodles, rice, or potatoes.
  • White stews can be called "blanquettes" or "fricassées" and consist of lightly seared but not browned lamb, poultry, or veal cooked in a white stock. Diced, braised vegetables with light color, like celery, cucumber, green lettuce, parsnips, or potatoes may be added. 
  • Many countries have stews in their cuisine. France has "beef bourguignon" or "beef Burgundy," a dish of beef stewed in burgundy wine. They also have a fish stew called "bouillabaisse." Vietnam has "bo kho," a richly-seasoned beef stew. "Feijoada" is a bean, beef, and pork stew from Brazil and Portugal. "Főzelék" is a thick vegetable soup from Hungary. South India has a stew made with lentils and vegetables called "sambar."
  • What's the difference between soup and stew? Soups are typically cooked in less time and are thinner in consistency than thick stews.

Let's Learn About Africa!

Photo by Riccardo Mayer/Shutterstock.com
  • The African continent is the second largest worldwide in size and population. Asia is the largest. Africa's total area, including islands, is 11.7 million square miles, and 1.3 billion people live on the continent. It is a little more than 2 million square miles bigger than North America, which has a population of 579 million.
  • Currently, there are 54 recognized countries in Africa. As of 2022, Sticky Fingers Cooking has featured foods from the West African region and the countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa.
  • Many scientists believe human beings originated in Africa, making it the oldest inhabited area on Earth. 
  • Ancient civilizations, like those of Egypt and Carthage, contributed to the history and culture of Africa. Ancient Europeans, the Greeks and Romans, also explored Africa, and Alexander the Great, an Ancient Greek king, established the city of Alexandria in Egypt in 331 BCE.
  • During more recent history, from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, several modern European countries colonized many African nations and brought their cultural influences to the continent. These countries included Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. 
  • Today, although they are independent, the government and media of the previously-colonized African nations may communicate in the languages of the Europeans that occupied them. However, the African people themselves usually speak in their native languages. 
  • The climate of Africa is diverse. The continent's northern half consists of arid and semi-arid deserts and shrubland. The central region has savannas (a grassy plain with few trees), tropical rainforests, and some semi-arid desert in the east. Finally, the southern area has savannas, tropical rainforests, and semi-tropical dry forests.
  • The Sahara Desert extends over a large portion of North Africa at 3.6 million square miles! That is larger than the United States (without Alaska and Hawaii)! It is the world's largest hot desert. Only the polar deserts of the Arctic and Antarctic are bigger.
  • Football (soccer) is probably the most popular sport across the African continent. In Egypt, kids may also participate in tennis, squash (like handball), and wrestling. In addition to soccer, Nigerian kids also like to wrestle and play volleyball. Soccer, rugby, and cricket are popular in South Africa. 

  • A few of the snacks that South African kids may eat include "koeksisters" (plaited fried dough dipped in sugar syrup), "biltong" (dried cured meat, like jerky), and "rusks" (a dried cookie, similar to biscotti). Kids in Nigeria may have "chin chin" (crunchy diced, fried bread), "puff-puff" (sweet, fried doughnut balls), or "dodo" (sliced, fried plantains) for an afterschool snack. Egyptian kids eat snacks like almonds, pistachios, grapes, raisins, dates, cucumbers, pita, and cheese.

Lettuce Joke Around

How do you turn a stew into gold?

Add 24 carrots!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a sweet potato that is reluctant to jump into boiling water? 

Hez A Tator

That's Berry Funny

How much does a Chinese dumpling weigh?

It weighs wonton!

The Yolk's On You

What do you say to an angry sweet potato? 

Anything, just butter him up first.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a baby sweet potato? 

A small fry!

That's Berry Funny

Why do sweet potatoes make good detectives? 

Because they keep their eyes peeled.

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a baby dump truck?

A dumpling!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a sweet potato who spends a lot of time sitting and thinking?

MediTator!

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