Kontomire stew is a very popular staple dish in Ghana. It is traditionally made with cocoa yam leaves (called Kontmire leaves) but can easily be made with frozen or fresh spinach. This stew can be made vegan, but it is traditionally seasoned with a variety of dried, canned, fresh and even cured/fermented fish. Since it is made with a ton of greens, this dish is packed with nutrients and can be modified to suit different tastes.
There are a few unique ingredients in Kontomire that may not be familiar to non-West Africans. Momoni, which is fermented fish, is a very funky-smelling ingredient but adds so much flavour and depth to stews like Kontomire. It may be hard to come by unless you venture to an African grocery store and some Asian supermarkets may have similar products. Thankfully, Momoni is not necessary to make this stew. Egusi is another typically West African ingredient in this dish and it is essentially just ground melon seeds. Egusi is another ingredient that is typically found at a West African grocery store, but ground pumpkin seeds are a great replacement. Lastly, palm oil is a reddish oil that can be found in several Ghanaian dishes and extracted from the fruit of the palm tree and is used in a lot of traditional dishes.
Kontomire is traditionally eating with yam, boiled green or ripe plantain or even rice.
Kontomire Stew 12 Steps
Place ginger, garlic and habanero in a blender, add up to 1/4 cup of water to help blend. Set aside.
Remove stems from spinach and roughly chop (if using fresh spinach).
In a medium to large pot heat your palm oil (or vegetable oil) and add your sliced onions. Sauté onions for about 3 minutes until they soften and start to brown slightly.
To the oil, add parsley, bouillon cubes, smoked paprika, shrimp powder, momoni and sautée until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Momoni (fermented fish) may break up in oil, remove any bones from the fermented fish if using. Keep stirring so nothing burns.
Add your blended ginger, garlic and habanero mixture to the oil and sautée briefly, about 2 minutes.
Add your diced tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of your wooden spoon. Bring to a light boil then reduce to a simmer. Stirring occasionally so it does not burn.
Simmer uncovered until the stew thickens and some water evaporates, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove cover, and stir egusi into stew. Place cover back on and simmer for 5-7 minutes without stirring.
After 5 minutes of cooking your egusi, add your spinach and cover with lid. The spinach should wilt after about 3 minutes and stir spinach into tomato stew until incorporated.
At this point you can add your canned mackerel. Do not add tomato sauce from canned fish to your stew, it changes the flavour of your stew. I also remove the soft bone in the middle of the mackerel but this can be left in as it is soft and is not a chocking hazard.
Gently break up fish but keep the chunks fairly big. Simmer for 5-10 more minutes uncovered.
Serve hot with a side of boiled yam, boiled rice or boiled plantain, an egg and sliced avocado.