This is a beautifully rich and spicy soup of West African origins. It’s flavourful and comforting, as well as being suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
In Ghana in particular this soup is often eaten with a side of fufu, which is a staple in West African countries. Fufu is a starchy dough that can be made by boiling together various starch crops, depending on availability – the most common ingredients are casava, yams or plantains.
Yams and plantains are fairly easy to get hold of in the UK. In large cities they can easily be bought from markets and some large supermarkets even have them now in their world food sections. A simple recipe for Fufu will follow the recipe for the soup if you want to try it out!
How to make the peanut soup
Ingredients (to serve 6 – 8 people):
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon peanut oil, or vegetable oil if you can’t find peanut
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper – more if you like it spicy!
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup chopped scallions or chives if scallions aren’t available
What to do (in five easy steps):
1 – Saute the onions until they are soft and slightly translucent. Stir in the ginger and cayenne pepper.
2 – Add the carrots, potatoes, saute for three more minutes. Add all of the stock.
3 – Bring to the boil and cook for around 15 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked and tender.
4 – Add to a food processor, mix until smooth. Add the tomato juice.
5 – Put all of this back into your soup pot and mix in all the peanut butter. You will have to stir it in quite a lot. Reheat whenever you are ready to serve!
Make sure to taste your soup as you go! If the carrots or sweet potatoes are especially sweet, the soup could taste too sugary. If you want, add more sugar or more salt to taste.
How to make the fufu
Our recipe will use yams, as these are the most commonly available to most people. If you’d prefer to try plantains, follow the same instructions but adjust the amount of water added and judge the consistency as you go along.
You can also make yam fufu by adding yam powder to hot water, but most cooks say this is an inferior method.
To make from scratch, all you have to do it this:
1 – Peel but do not cut your yams. Use about 2 – 3 yams for each serving of fufu.
2 – Boil your yams until they are tender and totally cooked. Cut them into large chunks.
3 – Using a pestle and mortar mash the yams up and gradually introduce water very slowly.
4 – Knead the mixture until it begins to bond, as you would with bread dough.
5 – The finished dough should have a stretchy consistency.
Serve on the side of your soup to dip in and scoop up all the last bits of your yummy soup!