Creamy and flavour-packed easy West African groundnut soup (peanut soup) with chicken is easy to prepare, with store cupboard ingredients; and is the perfect crowd pleaser.
Stew, sauces and soups with peanut base are very common in West Africa. In Northern Nigeria, there is Miyan gyada, while there is Omisagwe in the Niger Delta region of the country. There is Nkatenkwan from Ghana, Granat soup from Sierra Leone as well as Mafe from Senegal and Gambia regions. All these are prepared in different ways; and have different flavours, but they all have a peanut (mostly known as groundnut within west African region) base.
I am 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 at parties and during special occasions. The traditional recipe uses roasted peanuts. However, I have adapted the Nigerian groundnut soup recipe so I can use peanut butter with regular soup base of peppers, tomatoes and onions for ease and speed. The soup comes together even more quickly if you have the blended pepper, tomatoes and onions in your freezer already.
What To Serve With Peanut Soup
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. In Ghana, Nkatenkwan is usually served with Omo tuo, which is similar to Tuwo shinkafa.
You can serve peanut soup with most starchy foods; pounded yam, fufu or any “swallow” (dumpling) made from grains or roots. It goes well with rice and pasta. It is great on yam; and I’ve had it with mashed potatoes.
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: Traditionally, this soup is prepared with ground roasted peanuts, but I have used peanut butter for convenience. Make sure the peanut butter you are using does not have added sugar. If you have roasted unsalted peanuts, you can blend this and use the powder instead. You would use same quantity of powder as the peanut butter.
- Protein: Other than chicken, you can use any protein of choice – goat meet, beef, fish, prawns etc.
- Greens: This also depends on choice or what is available. You can substitute the spinach with kale, collard greens or even ugu. With these other vegetables, you will need to add in earlier than spinach to cook properly.
How to make it...
Blend the peppers, tomatoes and one onion. Keep to one side as you will come back to this later.
Cook the chicken with the remaining onion, garlic, ginger, half of the thyme sprigs and salt. Make sure the cooking liquid covers the chicken. The length of time you cook the chicken for depends on the type of chicken you are cooking.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and strain the stock before pouring back into the pot. Add the chicken and pour in the blended mix. Add the remaining thyme.
Allow to cook for 10 mins.
Then mix the peanut butter with a little hot water to make for easy mixing. Add into the pan. Mix well and add more salt if required.
Be aware that groundnut soup thickens as it cooks; and becomes even more thick 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.
Allow to cook for around 10 mins.
Add the spinach and stir in properly. Remove 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
Is West African peanut soup suitable for vegans? Yes, this soup can be suitable for vegans if you do not add any of the animal proteins. Peanuts is a source of protein itself; and with the addition of green vegetables, the soup becomes even more nutritious.
Can I freeze peanut soup? You can freeze peanut soup. It will last a couple of weeks in the freezer.
Other Delicious African Soups To Try Are;
West African Peanut Soup With Chicken
- Remove stalk from the peppers and blend one onion and the tomatoes. Keep the blended liquid to one side
- Pour the chicken into a pan on the hob.
- Cut one onion and slice into the pan. Add the garlic, ginger and ½ of the thyme sprigs.
- Add some salt with enough water to cover the chicken.
- Allow the chicken to cook, then remove from the pot.
- Strain the stock to get rid of the garlic, onion and ginger residue.
- Pour the stock back into the pot and add the chicken.
- Add the pepper, onion and tomato blend into the pot, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 mins.
- Mix the peanut butter with hot water to make a thick paste.
- Add into pot , taste and add more salt if required . Add the remaining thyme; cover the pan and allow to cook for another 10 mins. Stir constantly to prevent sticking. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner soup.
- Stir the spinach into the pan and remove from heat.