Digaag Qumbe (Chicken Stew with Yogurt and Coconut)

All of the different amazing flavors from the Xawaash spices, onions, garlic and ginger come together to create something amazing. Pour this stew over a bed of risotto or rice and you'll tastebuds will thank you.

It’s been really fun working with African spice blends and seeing the way they penetrate different ingredients to produce flavor bombs. We poured this stew over a bed of risotto and it was just what we wanted. All of the different amazing flavors from the Xawaash spices, onions, garlic and ginger come together to create something amazing. African cuisine is growing on us every day and this dish only furthered our love for it.

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Ingredients and Recipe

Digaag Qumbe (Chicken Stew with Yogurt and Coconut)

Recipe Credit
Cookbook – In Bibi's Kitchen (p. 73)
Author – Hawa Hassan
Note: This recipe has been updated + slightly altered for website editorial purposes.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins

Equipment

  • Chefs Knife
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • Cast Iron Skillet or Frying Pan
  • Coffee or Spice Grinder
  • Mesh Sieve
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk
  • Blender
  • Dutch Oven or Large Pot, for which you have a lid
  • Medium Sauté Pan
  • Serving Spoon

Ingredients

For the Xawaash Spice Mix (Makes ¾ cup)

  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
  • ¼ cup cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric

For the Sauce

  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Xawaash spice from recipe above
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

For the Risotto (you can also cook white rice, if desired)

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock you can use water as a substitute
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter you can use olive oil as a substitute
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp salt plus more to taste

For the Stew

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil you can use canola oil as a substitute
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 russet potato cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into thin coins
  • lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • bananas optional

Instructions

For the Xawaash Spice Mix (Makes ¾ cup)

  • Place the cinnamon pieces, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and cloves in a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the smell is very aromatic and the spices are lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
  • Transfer the mixture to a coffee or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Transfer the ground spices to a mesh sieve set over a medium-sized mixing bowl and sift. Regrind whatever large pieces remain in the sieve and add them to the mixing bowl with the ground spices.
  • Add the turmeric and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

For the Sauce

  • In the jar of a blender, combine the tomatoes, jalapeño, bell pepper, tomato paste, yogurt, xawaash spice mix and salt and puree until smooth. Set aside in a bowl.

For the Stew

  • Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes
  • Increase the heat to high. Stir in the blended tomato mixture, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until very fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the potato, carrots, chicken and coconut milk. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • While the stew is simmering, make the risotto or white rice (see below).
  • Once the stew is ready, season with salt to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with cilantro, over the cooked risotto below, and with bananas alongside, if desired (don't slice the bananas, just serve them whole and take a bite as you eat the stew).

For the Risotto (you can also cook white rice, if desired)

  • Melt 1 tbsp of butter to a medium sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add 1 tbsp of butter, rice and salt and mix thoroughly with the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or just long enough to allow rice to turn fragrant.
  • Lower heat to medium and add ½ cup of chicken stock (or water) to the rice. Stir until liquid is absorbed. When nearly all the liquid is absorbed, stir in an additional ½ cup of chicken stock.
  • Continue adding chicken stock, repeating the process in the last step, ½ cup at a time. Stir between each addition and wait to add more stock until it has been absorbed. This process will take between 20-30 minutes and is a perfect activity to do while you're waiting for the stew to be ready.
  • Continue until the arborio rice is tender and season with additional butter or salt. Serve with the stew and enjoy!

Notes

The Xawaash spice mix can be stored in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.
Author: Hawa Hassan
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: African

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In Bibi’s Kitchen

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