Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Winter Soups with Tradition III - Groundnut Soup

This is the last Holiday Soups installment: Groundnut Soup. A traditional lunch dish in many African countries, now a staple of Kwanzaa celebrations. This soup is rich, with the peanut butter making it creamy. Be sure to use natural, unsweetened peanut butter. It's filling and so, so mellow and good. I don't make this soup very often, but every time I do, I wonder why it took me so long to get around to it.
In Ghana, the dish usually contains tomato, and it tends to be spiced up with red pepper flakes or hot curry powder. In the Sudan, the dish is milder, sometimes made with milk, sometimes with lemon. I’ll give you the recipe for the basic soup, and let you decide which flavor enhancers you prefer. If you use the curry powder or other dry spices, add them to the oil when you sauté the onions and garlic. It takes some of the harshness out of their flavor and gives a more well-blended taste.
This recipe has turkey as an ingredient because it was originally developed for an article on holidays, and at holiday time we're likely to have turkey left over. However, true Groundnut Soup does not use meat. To keep this vegetarian/vegan, use a vegetable broth or water for the liquid.

  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp. Hot curry powder
    1/4 tsp. Cinnamon and small pinch Ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 cups Turkey, shredded or cut small
  • Broth to cover
  • Optional: Tomato paste (1 small can) or 2 tomatoes (chopped small)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Hot pepper flakes
  • Peanut butter (1-2 Tbsp. per cup of liquid)
  • Garnish: Pimentos, diced (optional)
  1. Sauté onion and garlic (and dry spices if used) in the vegetable oil until just beginning to turn golden. Garlic burns very easily, giving it a bitter taste, so keep the heat at medium and stir while cooking.
  2. Put all the remaining ingredients, except the peanut butter, in a soup pot and simmer.
  3. When the liquid is warm, ladle some into a bowl and combine it with the peanut butter, stirring until well-blended. Add back into the pot.
  4. Serve hot with a starch, like rice or bread.
  5. You can provide a dish of chopped pimentos for garnish, which adds a nice mild sweetness.


At 7:04 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Huh. I thought groundnut soup woulda had a lot more peanuts in it. Can you believe I've made a peanut-oyster soup a couple of times? I believe it was a George Washington Carver concoction.
Also: You're tagged!

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Oh, this looks really nice! May have to make some up this weekend with leftover roast chicken and a little garam masala.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Cookie, this is just one of probably hundreds of versions. I don't like really viscous soups, so I didn't put in so much peanut butter, but you could certainly make it more peanutty.

Kathy, that sounds great. There are so many things you can do with the spicing on a peanut background. Let me know how it came out.


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