I know it sounds like I just pulled a bunch of ingredients out of a hat for this one, but I promise you African Peanut Soup is indeed a real thing, classically thickened with yams. Or… sweet potatoes?
Tell me, do you know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? I thought I did, but it took some faithful research courtesy of The Kitchn to help me get to the root of it (root? tuber? get it? Ha! Sorry, it’s too early for puns that bad).
It turns out, what most North American grocery stores call ‘yams’ are actually sweet potatoes.
Common North American Grocery Store Labeling:
- Yam — Soft sweet potato with a copper skin and deep orange flesh.
- Sweet potato — Firm sweet potato with golden skin and lighter flesh.
HUH. So, now you know. I know you all cared deeply about this. 😉
Regardless of what you call it, we’re looking for an orange fleshed tuber for this recipe so, if you need to, give a discrete little scratch of the skin when you’re in the grocery store. If it’s white, toss it back, if it’s orange, you’ve got the right one!
It took me a long time to perfect this recipe, but the results are well worth it. After experimenting with a few different recipes, I took a hint from one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks, Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook, and added pineapple and pineapple juice to my evolving mix. Wow, does that ever make a difference! The sweetness and acidity from the pineapple give real life to this dish, saving it from being bogged down and overly heavy.
I also found it really surprising how little peanut butter is needed to this give bowl a real peanutty kick. After making this a few times and revising as I went, I decided 3 tablespoons of per pot gave the perfect balance of richness and acidity but if you’re a real peanut- er, nut– then by all means, amp it up with another tablespoon or even two.
Lime for added acidity, cilantro for freshness, a little sprinkle of peanuts to mix up the texture. There are a lot of things happening in this little bowl and I’m liking every. single. one of them.
|African Yam & Peanut Soup|| |
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 onions, diced
- ⅓ cup fresh ginger, grated
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 540 ml (19 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 medium yams, peeled and chopped
- 75 ml (14 oz) can of pineapple in pineapple juice
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened smooth peanut butter
- 2 limes, juice
- To serve:
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Fresh cilantro
- Coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
- Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add ginger, garlic and spices and cook over medium heat until fragrant. Add bell pepper, tomatoes and yams and stir to combine. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure to spices don't burn.
- Add stock to the soup pot, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until yams are tender, 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your yam chunks.
- Add peanut butter and pineapple, reserving the pineapple juice in the can. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Puree the soup until smooth using either an immersion blender or a counter-top blender (you will have to blend it in batches using a counter-top blender). Add pineapple juice and lime juice and stir to combine.
- Serve with additional lime wedges, hot sauce, fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.