Palm oil is the star of this simple stew, which Rose Mwamba seasons conservatively because she’s not especially fond of spicy food.

The most widely used plant-based oil in the world shows up in everything from dish soap to cosmetics, but is especially prized in Africa as an ingredient. “Palm oil is very good for you, and it’s so nice,” Mwamba says. Like other oils, its color depends on how much it’s been refined: Lightly processed palm oil is just starting to become available in the United States, partly because its rich red hue, which used to scare off American consumers, is now seen as a reminder of the oil’s carotene content.

Still, Mwamba likes a yellow palm oil for this stew. And since moving to this country, she’s started added canned peas and carrots as a garnish.

— Hanna Raskin

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.