Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches might be an American mainstay, but we’ve got a new and exciting way to eat peanuts -- groundnut soup! A popular African dish consumed in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Senegal, it has a rich history of preparation methods, just like its rich and creamy taste!
What is Groundnut Soup?
Groundnut soup, sometimes called Maafe, is a peanut butter stew that’s a staple in West African cooking. The dish starts with a base of ground peanuts, which have been crushed into a smooth paste. Then, with the additions of tomatoes, habanero peppers, and a few other bold spices and aromatics, this soup becomes something rich, smooth, and flavorful with a little kick and a touch of sweetness.
Where Did Peanut Butter Soup in African Cuisine Come From?
As mentioned before, groundnut soup is eaten in countries all across West Africa, and in each place it can look a little bit different. Ghanian groundnut soup, for example, looks a little bit different than Nigerian groundnut soup. In Ghana, they often eat it with fufu (a dough-like swallow made from cassava) or omo tuo (made from rice). In Nigeria, however, where groundnut is a native soup of the Benin (Edo) people, it’s often eaten with pounded yam.
The term “Maafe” is usually used when referring to peanut stew, a dish that tends to have a slightly thicker consistency than groundnut soup. This peanut stew has a similar flavor and ingredients profile, but it originated from the Mandinka and Bambara people of Mali.
A huge reason for its popularity throughout Africa is due to the cultivation of groundnut -- or peanuts -- throughout the continent during the colonial period. Because of this widespread agricultural development, groundnut soup and maafe became popular not only in West Africa, but in places like Cameroon and France as well.
How Do You Eat Spicy Peanut Butter Soup?
Pairings and serving suggestions can vary for groundnut soup depending on the country of origin or the preparation method. In Ghana, for example, the swallow fufu is a common pairing, but in Nigeria, pounded yam is more popular. When it comes to making it more of a stew, of Maafe, there is often a protein of choice served coated in the delicious, rich stew.
One of the things that makes groundnut soup so special is that it can be eaten as a standalone meal, all by itself, or with your side of choice. Not only that, but it can definitely be stretched beyond the traditions of West African cooking -- it’s also a great base for more Western inspired dishes and can be used as a sauce for your sauteed vegetables or roasted meats.
Egunsi Foods' Groundnut Soup
Here at Egunsi Foods, we modeled our groundnut soup after the Ghanian style of preparation. We included ginger and garlic to help cut through the richness of the peanut butter and provide a more balanced flavor. We also use our own in-house vegetable base, and a little bit of lemon juice, to help hit that tangy taste that makes it irresistible. It’s rich in antioxidants, high in plant-based protein, and brimming with healthy minerals.
Our Groundnut Soup is an easy way to bring a delicious and hearty staple of West African cuisine into your home kitchen and really make it your own.