For many travelers in Ghana, peanut soup is the ultimate Ghanaian food and many of my guests ask how they can make this soup at home. Now I love cooking immensely, but I cook from the heart… Which basically means I have no clue about the quantities I use in terms of ingredients. So especially for this blog, tonight I am going to eat Ghanaian peanut soup, or groundnut soup. What a tough life I have!
But before I get into the kitchen, I’m going to tell you a bit more about this soup. If you don’t feel like doing this, click here to go straight to the recipe!
PEANUT SOUP IS CALLED GROUNDNUT SOUP OR NKATENKWAN IN GHANA
In Ghana they don’t use the word peanut, hence it is called groundnut soup, or as they say here in Ashanti, Nkatenkwan. The soup is eaten with fufu, banku or rice ball. I wrote a blog about fufu before, click here to read it. Banku is a ball made of fermented cornmeal and cassava and rice balls speak for themselves I think. Often on Sundays you will see special omotuo on the menu at restaurants. These are rice balls in peanut soup.
At Moon&Star guesthouse we cook both local and continental. Our guests come from all over the world and some are travelers who also like to eat “off the street”, but there are also people who mostly eat in continental restaurants and have never had peanut soup. And there are guests whose favorite dish is omotuo. We want to satisfy people’s wishes and give them an authentic Ghanaian experience and that experience is certainly gained through food!
In my opinion, there are 2 types of groundnut soup. The watery, peppery variety that tastes mostly of fish and pepper and the rich, creamy variety. The first variant is often made in large families. It won’t surprise you that we are going to make the creamy version today.
I’m going to make the soup with chicken, but the chicken can be replaced with fish or just left out for the vegetarian or vegan version. If you are cooking without meat start by sautéing the onions before adding the rest.
We cook with local, untreated peanut paste. As a substitute, you can use peanut butter or even better peanut butter without additives. Because the peanut butter you use is normally already processed, you can cook the soup for a shorter time than we do!
THE RECIPE FOR GHANaian PEANUT SOUP
- 250 grams groundnutpaste/peanut butter
- 2 chickentighs
- 3 onions,
- 4 tomatoes
- 150 grams tomato puree
- 4 thumbs of ginger
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 3 (or more) fresh pepper
- salt to taste
- 4 garden eggs (small eggplant)
- optional okra
Cut 1 onion into pieces, the rest of the onion can go in the blender with the garlic and ginger. Pour little oil in the pan and the first thing to go is the chopped onion, quickly followed by the pieces of chicken leg. When the chicken is seared all around add the blended mixture of onion, ginger and garlic. Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down low. Meanwhile, dissolve the peanut paste in about 500 grams of water. In Ghana, we use our hands for this or the African blender. At the moment the paste is not properly dissolved you get pieces in the soup, which we do not want.
Add the dissolved peanut paste along with the tomato paste to the chicken mixture. Add some extra water and the fresh tomato, the fresh pepper and possibly the garden eggs. Cook the tomatoes, pepper and garden eggs for about 10 minutes and then fish them out of the pan. Blend the pepper, tomato and garden eggs and add them back to the soup. The okra you add about 10 minutes later whole (without the stalk and top). Add water until you reach your preferred thickness. And you can also add salt to taste.
In Ghana, we cook the soup for over an hour because of the fresh peanut paste. If you use peanut butter, the cooking can be faster. We know the soup is ready when the foam disappears and the colour of the soup changes. At that point, the peanut oil comes out.
We are going to eat this soup with fufu today, but you can also eat it with rice (balls), but you could also go for Amazin kitchen’s oatmeal banku!