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African Peanut Butter Soup

African peanut butter soup, aka groundnut stew, maafe or domodah is for peanut lovers. Originating with the Mandinka and Bambara peoples in Mali, it’s spicy and highlights peanuts and tomatoes with a protein. There is no single, traditional recipe, but can be made with a host of different ingredients. I find flavor similarities with Indian peanut based curries, but can find no specific reference to a common origin.

A Plethora of Options

I chose to make my African peanut butter soup with roasted chicken, but you can use lamb or beef.  Root vegetables, potatoes and okra or corn are routinely included. Cinnamon and tumeric are two additional spices that appear frequently in recipes and many serve it with rice or couscous.

You can make this vegetarian by leaving out the protein and even a carnivore will devour it. Regardless of the myriad combinations, if it has peanuts and  tomatoes with spices it will fit a West African profile.

This is a hearty and satisfying meal that has rocketed to the top of the charts in my household. If you’re a peanut lover, this is required cooking!

  • Author: TJ

Ingredients

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african peanut butter soup ingredients

  • 2 TBL peanut oil
  • 11/2 medium yellow onions – chopped
  • 1 TBL fresh ginger – peeled and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 TBL tomato paste
  • (1) 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato – peeled and diced
  • 5 cups chicken stock + more to thin if necessary
  • (1) 14 oz can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • 11/2 cups creamy, natural peanut butter
  • 4 loosely packed cups baby spinach – de-stemmed
  • 2 roasted chicken breasts – shredded
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Baby spinach or chopped parsley – garnish
  • White rice – optional
  • Cocktail peanuts – garnish
  • Dusting of Cayenne pepper – garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot
  2. Saute the onions until softened – about 3-4 minutes
  3. Add the ginger and garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes more
  4. Add the cayenne and black pepper, cumin and tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring until the paste darkens
  5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock
  6. Stir in the sweet potatoes, chickpeas and peanut butter
  7. Bring it to a boil and stir until fully combined
  8. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender
  9. Add the shredded chicken and baby spinach and cook for another 5 minutes until everything is hot
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
  11. Use chicken stock to thin if necessary and stir it in for 2-3 minutes to give the flavors time to meld
  12. Serve in a soup bowl and garnish with baby spinach, cocktail peanuts and dust with cayenne pepper
  13. Serve over or alongside rice – optional

onions and garlic cooking peanut butter soup

soup almost ready african peanut butter soup 2

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