The Pretend Chef

Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Cayenne pepper stew (Shombo stew) is a stew made with Fresh cayenne pepper with no tomatoes added. Nigerians and their numerous stews, we love our stews which are mostly made up of a combination of tomatoes and peppers, tomato being the main ingredient.

Tomatoes and peppers are nutrient rich fruits. Cayenne pepper by itself is high in vitamins A, B and C, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids. It aids digestion, acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-congestant, it stimulates circulation and is used for detoxification. I could go on and on but that will be an entire post on its own. 

Cayenne pepper (shombo) for Cayenne Pepper Stew

Cayenne Pepper (Shombo)

I went to do some heavy duty grinding a few days ago and as I was gisting with Mama Chinedu, the lady who grinds my stuff, I commented on the high price of tomatoes. Usually, the price of fresh tomatoes go up during the rainy season in Nigeria, but last year, the price increase was unprecedented, though I was not around during this period I heard stories.

So Mama Chinedu said that she is not bothered about the price of tomatoes when she can cheaply make Shombo (Cayenne Pepper) stew. All the culinary juices in me bubbled and simmered in excitement, needless to say, I picked up the ingredients and here we are.


Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew) is not just delicious, the flavour is so rich and the heat of the peppers is more warming than biting. To control the heat, remove the seeds from some or all of the cayenne pepper. Don’t grind the pepper and onions to a very smooth paste, but not quite as rough as Ofada rice stew.

You can add curry, thyme or any other spice or herb you like, you can even add Partminger leaves (curry leaves) especially if you are using mackerel as your protein. 

To prepare Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo stew)

330g Shombo (Cayenne pepper)
450g Red Onions
1/2 cup Palm oil
2 seasoning cubes
2 teaspoons chicken seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

Wash Fresh cayenne pepper (shombo) and de-seed about half.

Wash onions and reserve just a little for slicing about 50g.

peppers and onions prepared for Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Grind cayenne pepper (shombo) and onions together.

Ground peppers for Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Place a clean dry pot over medium-high heat, add palm oil. 

When the oil is hot, pour in your pureed pepper, add seasoning cubes and salt. 

Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew) in a pot

Cook until the pepper has reduced considerably and the oil is just beginning to be visible.

Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew) in a pot

Add 6 cups of stock plus water, sliced onions and meat, cook for 20 minutes. 

Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew) in a pot

Taste and correct seasoning.

Your Cayenne pepper stew is ready. 


  • To control the heat of the cayenne pepper, remove the seeds from some or all of the peppers.
  • If you need a smoother, more blended stew, add a little tomato puree (tomato paste).


You will also enjoy my Nigeria tomato stew, Omi obe (stew), Nigerian boiled tomato stew, Fresh tomato sauce.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below. 

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  1. ADA
    June 19, 2017


    • gaga
      June 19, 2017

      Thank you dear

  2. olabimpe
    June 19, 2017

    Nice 1. Will give it a try witout tomatoes n bonnet pepper

    • gaga
      June 19, 2017

      Hi Olabimpe please do give it a try, you’ll love it. Don’t bother with scotch bonnet, cayenne pepper (shombo) is quite hot.

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