Thursday, 8 March 2018

Globecooking recipe : Peanut Butter Soup (Ghana)

ghana peanut butter soup

The very first book that I read in 2018 was Outcasts United by Warren St John, a non-fiction book that tells the story of a group of refugees from various countries around the world, trying to settle into a new life in small-town America, helped along by their relentless and passionate Jordanian soccer coach, Luma Mufleh. (Click through to read my review.)

While many of the mothers in the story are out working one or multiple jobs to try and get their new life on track, the kids are often left to keep house and feed the rest of the family, so there were several mentions of traditional foods from the various countries that they come from. This one immediately caught my eye.

p135 Kanue's role was to cook and keep the apartment. After classes each day at a public school called Avondale Middle, he went home and got to work making African food from recipes he'd learned from Grandma : beans and spicy stews of spinach and cassava leaves, which he poured over rice, and his favourite, peanut butter soup.

The idea of putting peanut butter into a soup sounded very strange to me, and I had visions of something very gloopy, oily and cloying. However, after googling it, I discovered that it is the national dish of Ghana, so surely a whole nation can't be wrong ! There are several versions available, many involving chicken, some as vegetarian options, with butternut squash, sweet potato or spinach. My original plan was to use up the leftover chicken after the Sunday roast, but we ended up eating raclette instead (a French dish consisting of potatoes, cured meats and oodles of melted cheese), so I went for a veggie version instead. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the end result.

 Peanut Butter Soup

ingredients :

drizzle of olive oil
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 sweet potato
spinach, fresh or frozen
(optional : chicken, cooked or raw)
1 chicken stock cube
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
salt, pepper, chilli flakes
ground peanuts (to serve - optional)

Start by peeling and dicing the sweet potato into small cubes.

Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil until they start to go translucent and soft, but don't go brown. If using fresh chicken, you could add it at this point. 

Add the sweet potato to the pot and cook for five minutes or so, stirring regularly.

Cover with boiling water and stir in the stock cube.

Cook for about 10 minutes until the sweet potato is soft but not mushy.

Add some spinach to the pot - I used frozen as I had some that needed using up, but fresh would be good too, or you can substitute for kale. Another common ingredient in American versions is Collard Greens and I'm sure they have an alternative green vegetable in Ghana/Africa so just use whatever you have to hand.

Stir through a tin of chopped tomatoes and heat through until the spinach is wilted and, if using frozen, completely defrosted. If using up leftover cooked chicken, add it now.

OK, here goes - time to dollop in the peanut butter. I had smooth but you could opt for crunchy instead if you prefer.

Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until the peanut butter has melted and gone creamy. Taste and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

I had a bag of ground peanuts in the cupboard so I sprinkled some on top of each bowl after serving.

It's a rich, creamy and surprisingly tasty soup, and all the different flavours blend and work together really well. The Madhouse kids were intrigued and wanted to try it, despite not being at all keen on spinach and sweet potatoes. Bonus !

Adding to the #readcookeat linky over at Chez Maximka.

Also adding to the #KitchenClearout linky as it used up some frozen spinach that had been lurking in the freezer for ages, along with a jar of peanut butter that had all the oil separating from it and the end of a bag of ground peanuts.

Linking up to the brand new World Food Linky over at Jess Eats and Travels

Link up your recipe of the week


  1. Love the sound of that soup, great flavours all along. I've never tried peanut butter in soup, but why not. I think it's a great way of adding protein, if you are not a meat eater.

    1. That's very true - a good idea for your newly vegetarian husband maybe? :)

  2. I love putting peanut butter in a soup. I also put tahini and almond butter in soups - so good with vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots!

    1. Definitely something I need to experiment with more :)

  3. I LOVE peanut butter! I noticed in my A-Z cooking so far that Africans do love peanuts. I think it's my kind of country! Thanks for linking up to my World Food linky! x

  4. Sounds interesting. I love peanut butter


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