Tomato stew recipe

By Tomato Stew, I mean stew used to prepare the Nigerian Jollof Rice recipes: Jollof Rice, Coconut Rice, Rice & Beans, etc. This tomato stew also forms the base for the Nigerian Beef & Chicken Stew. I always prepare a large quantity of this tomato stew and store in my freezer. This makes cooking my Nigerian Jollof Rice, Spaghetti Surprise and other meals where I use Tomato Stew so easy.

Fry Your Best Tomato Stew Ever!

Please note that this tomato stew does not have any seasoning and other ingredients because it is just a base. If you watch my Nigerian Jollof Rice, Nigerian Coconut Rice and my Nigerian Spaghetti Surprise videos, this is the tomato stew that I added while cooking those meals.

I get a good number of questions about what I mean by tomato stew and how I make it, that’s why I made this page and the video below.

Add beef/chicken or both, thyme, curry, Nugo, salt and pepper to Tomato Stew to get the Beef & Chicken Stew used to eat boiled white rice. For the recipe on how to prepare that, visit this page: How to Cook Nigerian Beef & Chicken Stew

Ingredients for Nigerian Tomato Stew

  • 3.2kg (7lbs) fresh Plum Tomatoes (referred to as Jos Tomatoes in Nigeria, tomate pera in Spanish and pomodoro pera in Italian)
  • 400g (14oz) tinned tomato paste: (or watery tinned Tomato Puree: 800g)
  • Vegetable Oil: a generous quantity (see the video below)
  • 2 onions

Important notes on the ingredients

  1. Tomatoes: Plum tomatoes are the best for the Nigerian Tomato Stew (and other Nigerian recipes) because all the other types of tomatoes either have a very strong taste, have lots of seeds or contain lots of water. You can also use Roma Tomatoes because it is very similar to plum tomatoes.
  2. Vegetable Oil: There’s always a debate about this one. But I will insist that you need more than enough oil when frying the tomatoes. This is so that the tomatoes will not burn till all the sour taste is gone and the water has dried from the tomatoes. You will pour out the excess oil when the tomatoes are well fried. Just think about this as “sort of” deep frying the tomatoes. Not that you’ll need that much oil but you get the gist.If you don’t use enough oil, your stew will have a sour taste and it will burn even if you stand there stirring frantically 🙁 Cooking should be fun, not tedious. And why worry when you’ll pour out the excess oil when you are done? In my opinion, anybody worried about his/her health should stay away from this stew because it is fried.This oil you pour out is red hence it is perfect for cooking Egusi Soup, Okra Soup and Ogbono Soup for those who cannot buy or do not want to use palm oil. Once it has cooled down, put it in the fridge or freezer because it will go bad if left on the kitchen counter.
  3. Tinned tomato paste/puree: The tinned tomato paste sold in Nigeria is usually very thick and concentrated. If you try to fry this tomato paste as is, it will burn straight away. What I normally do is to add some water to it to bring it to the softer consistency as I did in the video below. There are other types of tomato purees sold in Europe and the rest of the world and these are usually watery. If that is the only type you can buy, then you need to cook it with the fresh tomato puree (as explained below) to get it to dry up a bit and get rid of the sour taste before frying.One more thing; the tinned tomato paste/puree is optional. Its job is to improve the redness of the tomato stew, making it look richer and more appetizing. If you don’t want to use it, replace with fresh plum tomatoes. In Nigeria, it is common to use tatashe (Nigerian big red peppers) to improve the redness of the tomato stew. Please note that tatashe is not the same as bell peppers.
  4. Feel free to vary the ratio of fresh plum tomatoes to conc. tomato paste. If you want the stew very red and conc. especially if you want to use it too cook Jollof Rice for a large crowd, increase the quantity of tomato paste you will use for a specific quantity of plum tomatoes.


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