Whether you are in Nigeria, Ghana or Cameroon, garden egg stew is a favourite in West Africa. Some people like to cook it with koobi (Ghanaian salted dried fish), some like it with smoked mackerel while others prefer it without added protein. However you like it, this oven roasted garden egg cooked in a spicy tomato sauce is bursting with flavours and very easy to make. Roasting concentrates the flavours and prevents nutrients from leaching into boiling water.
African garden egg is a very versatile fruit, which is cooked and eaten as a side sauce with a lot of starchy foods. It is usually eaten with yam, cocoyam and boiled plantain; and goes well with sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and rice too.
I added fresh prawns as additional protein to my garden egg stew recipe, but you can skip this to make it vegetarian.
What Is African Garden Egg?
Garden egg, also known as eggplant is an egg shaped or sometimes round fruit which is widely eaten across Africa. The colour ranges from white to green, and sometimes purple. Some varieties are also striped. African garden egg varieties are smaller than eggplant and can be eaten raw unlike eggplant.
It is called “igba” in Yoruba, “akwuko anara” or “efo igbo” in Igbo, “ganyen gauta” in Hausa, “nyadua” in Twi and “njacatu” in Cameroon.
Garden egg can be eaten raw as a snack – it tastes amazing with peanut or peanut butter. It can also be cooked in different ways to make soup, stew or sauce; this is particularly common in West Africa.
Garden egg is highly valued for its earthy flavours and spongy texture, which makes it great at absorbing flavours. The leaf of garden egg plant is an important vegetable in some African countries, and is consumed in a cooked form in soups and sauces too
This article has more information about African garden egg, if you would like to know more.
What You Need To Prepare Garden Egg Stew
A few notes about ingredients;
- African Garden eggs: I used white garden eggs because I found some at my local market. You can use the green or purple varieties depending on what is available. If you were like me a few years ago and do not have access to any African garden eggs varieties; then you can use aubergine/eggplant as a substitute. Check out this recipe for eggplant stew with smoked mackerel.
- Oil: I used sunflower oil for this recipe, you can substitute with red palm-oil if you prefer. Just heat it gently for around two minutes before adding the onions.
- Fresh thyme: You can substitute with 1 teaspoon of dry thyme. As a rule of thumb, substitute fresh herbs with half of its dry version.
How To Prepare Garden Egg Stew
Preheat the oven to 220 0C.
Line a baking pan with foil to stop the garden egg from sticking to the pan. Cut the stalks off the garden eggs, cut into half and place on the baking pan. Sprinkle some salt and cover with foil to prevent drying out. Place in the oven.
Allow to cook for around 15 mins. By which time, the colour should be light brownish and the fruits soft enough to be mashed. Bring out of the oven and pour in a bowl.
Use a potato masher or fork to mash the garden eggs properly. You can pulse in a food processor or blender to make it quicker.
While the garden eggs are still in the oven, heat up the oil in a pan under medium heat.
Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Pour in the garlic, curry powder, smoked paprika and pepper flakes.
Stir continuously for 30 secs to allow the flavours to develop.
Add chopped tomatoes and thyme. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
Add the prawns and the mashed garden eggs with some salt. Mix well and cover the pan for another 5 mins under low heat.
Remove from heat.
Recipe FAQ and Notes
What if I don’t have access to an oven? Garden egg sauce is traditionally prepared by boiling and mashing the fruits. Oven roasting gives a more intense depth of flavour, but should not stop you from enjoying this sauce. If you don’t have an oven, prepare the garden in the same way as above, but boil in salted water for about 5 mins. Remove from water and mash.
Where can I buy garden egg? In the UK, most African or Asia shop will have at least one variety of garden egg on shelf.
Oven Roasted Garden Egg Stew With Prawns.
- 10-15 Garden eggs small
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 cup Chopped onions
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Pepper flakes
- 400 g Chopped tomatoes (1 can)
- 1 tablespoon Chopped fresh thyme or half teaspoon dried thyme
- 200 g King prawns (1 cup)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 220 °C.
- Line a baking pan with foil to stop the garden egg from sticking. Cut the stalks off the garden eggs, cut into half and place on the baking pan. Sprinkle some salt and cover with foil.
- Place into the oven.
- Allow to cook for around 15 mins.
- Bring out of the oven and pour in a bowl. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the garden eggs properly.
- While the garden eggs are in the oven, heat up the oil in a pan under medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until translucent.
- Pour in the garlic, curry powder, smoked paprika and pepper flakes. Stir continuously for 30 secs.
- Add chopped tomatoes and thyme. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
- Add the prawns and the mashed garden eggs with some salt. Mix well and cover the pan for another 5 mins under low heat
- Remove from heat.
Other delicious stews and sauces to try!