Creamy and flavour-packed easy West African peanut soup with chicken is easy to prepare, with store cupboard ingredients, and is the perfect crowd pleaser.
Peanuts (typically called groundnut) is a very common ingredient in African cooking, and stew, sauces and soups with groundnut base are very popular, particularly within West Africa. For example, in Northern Nigeria, it is called Miyan gyada, and in the Niger Delta region of the country, Omisagwe (ofe isaghwe). In addition, there is Nkatenkwan from Ghana, Granat soup from Sierra Leone, and Mafe from Senegal and Gambia regions.
I am more familiar with the Hausa peanut soup recipe, Miyan gyada. I lived in the area for one year, and this rich sauce with a slight kick of chilli was served with masa at parties and during special occasions.
Depending on who is making it and where, groundnut soup is prepared in different ways and with various additions. Some people grind raw groundnut for the soup; some use roasted groundnut, while others boil theirs. I have adapted the groundnut soup recipe to use peanut butter with a regular soup base of peppers, tomatoes and onions for ease and speed. The soup comes together even more quickly if you already have the blended pepper, tomatoes and onions in your freezer.
How To Make West African Peanut Soup
Here are the ingredients you need...
- Red bell pepper
- Scotch bonnet
- Chicken legs
- Smooth peanut butter
A few notes about the ingredients...
- Peanut Butter: This recipe uses natural smooth peanut butter with no added sugar. If you have roasted unsalted peanuts, you can use this instead of peanut butter – grind and use the same quantity as the peanut butter.
- Protein: Other than chicken, you can use any protein of choice – goat meat, beef, fresh fish, smoked fish, prawns etc.
- Greens: This depends on choice or what is available. You can substitute the spinach with kale or collard greens. Local leafy vegetables like bitter leaves, ugu and uziza work well with peanut soup – if you’re using any of these, you will need to add in earlier than spinach to cook properly.
How to make it...
Peel the onions and garlic. Wash the peppers and tomatoes. Remove the stalk from the bell pepper and scotch bonnet peppers.
Add the chicken thighs into a saucepan. Slice onion, garlic and ginger – pour into the pan. Add half of the thyme with some salt, then add enough water to cover the chicken pieces. The length of time you cook the chicken depends on the type of chicken you are cooking. Soft chicken thighs will be cooked in about 20 mins, while hard chicken will take longer.
While the chicken is cooking, liquidise the remaining onion, scotch bonnet peppers, bell pepper and tomatoes in a blender. Keep aside.
When the chicken is cooked, strain the stock in a colander to get rid of the garlic, onion and ginger residue. Pour the stock back into the pan. Add the chicken and pour in the blended pepper mix. Add the remaining thyme.
Cover the pan and leave to cook for 15 mins.
Mix the peanut butter with hot water to make for easy mixing. Add into the pan and mix well. Taste and add more salt if required. Leave to cook for 10 mins, occasionally stirring to prevent burning.
Be aware that groundnut soup thickens as it cooks; and becomes even thicker when left to cool. Make it slightly more runny than you prefer, and it should thicken. You can make it as thin or thick as you want by adjusting the quantity of water.
Stir the spinach in and cook for another 5 mins before removing from heat.
I didn’t add additional oils to the recipe as peanut is rich in oil anyway; which is enough to cook the stew. Red peppers and tomatoes added some colour to the dish.
Recipe Notes & FAQ
Groundnut soup is healthy and a good source of protein. In the Northern part of Nigeria, is served with Tuwo shinkafa, which is a dough/dumpling made from rice or masa. Ghana groundnut soup is usually served with Omo tuo or fufu. You can serve it with most starchy foods; eba, fufu or any “swallow” (dumpling) made from grains or roots. It also goes well with rice, plantain and yam.
Yes, this soup can be suitable for vegans if you do not add any the animal proteins. Groundnut is a source of protein; and with the addition of green vegetables, the soup becomes even more nutritious.
Yes, it will last a couple of weeks in the freezer.
Other delicious soups from West Africa...
Okro Soup With Smoked Mackerel
West African Peanut Soup With Chicken
- 3 Tomatoes Big
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 2 Scotch bonnet
- 2 Onions
- 6 pieces Chicken thighs
- Thyme a few sprigs
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup Smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup Spinach Sliced
- Peel the onions and garlic. Wash the peppers and tomatoes. Remove the stalk from the bell pepper and scotch bonnet peppers.
- Add the chicken thighs into a saucepan. Slice onion, garlic and ginger – pour into the pan. Add half of the thyme with some salt, then add enough water to cover the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken until tender.
- While the chicken is cooking, liquidise the remaining onion, scotch bonnet peppers,bell pepper and tomatoes in a blender. Keep aside.
- When the chicken is cooked, strain the stock in a colander to get rid of the garlic, onion and ginger residue. Pour the stock back into the pan.
- Add the chicken and pour in the blended pepper mix. Add the remaining thyme. Cover the pan and leave to cook for 15 mins.
- Mix the peanut butter with hot water to make for easy mixing. Add into the pan and mix well. Taste and add more salt if required. Leave to cook for 10 mins, occasionally stirring to prevent burning.
- Stir the spinach in and cook for another 5 mins before removing from heat.
There are no peppers in the list of ingredients. What kind of peppers? Bell, jalapeño, ??
I apologise Tamra. I accidentally missed out some parts of the ingredients. I have now updated the recipe card. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
I did my best to make this with what I had on hand, and it still came out delicious. I wasn't sure what to do with the (habanero) peppers, so I just blended them and it certainly packed some heat- I was surprised how the peanut butter really tampered down the spice.
Since tomatoes aren't in season, I used a fancy-shmancy organic, roasted whole canned tomato. I used one of those 28 oz. big cans, but I think that was overkill so I had a very tomatoey soup. I also used an immersion blender, and didn't strain out the onions, opting to just blend them between the chicken pieces. I enjoy onions and a chunky soup in general, though I'm sure I've gotten somewhat far from the original recipe by this point.
I'd been dying to try this for ages, and I think this recipe is more accessible than other recipes I've seen online that often include meats I can't get at my small supermarket butcher. I feel like it's the kind of stew that can please anyone and is reeeeeeeally easy.
Thanks for sharing.