Thursday, January 28, 2010

African Tomato and Peanut Soup

As promised I decided to make a variation of a soup from my new soup book from Oraphan. This Senegalese soup appealed to me today. I have read recipes for similar soups many times and thought they sounded interesting but wasn’t certain I would like peanut butter in soup. Now I am sorry I waited so long to try it. This soup is really tasty; actually it is so good it is almost addictive. There was a little too much tasting this evening before dinner.

I adapted the recipe from “Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen” because I couldn’t follow a recipe if I tried. I always want to tweak something. I did a little research on the flavors of Senegal and changed the soup a tad but left it similar to the original. Here is the soup I made this evening.

African Tomato and Peanut Soup
Adapted from “Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Makes 6 large meal sized servings


1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
¼ cup water to water sauté the aromatics
20 stems of cilantro (stems and leaves diced and reserved separately) – about 6 tablespoons diced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 pinch cardamom, ground
32 ounces peeled, crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
13.5 ounces unsweetened reduced fat coconut milk
10 tablespoons natural peanut butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grains of paradise, for serving – optional, but suggested
Tofu sour cream, for serving – optional, but suggested
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges – optional, but suggested

1 cup millet
2 cups water


Water sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until all the vegetables are soft. Add the cilantro stems, pepper flakes, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, crushed tomatoes, water, coconut milk, and natural peanut butter and cook for at least 30 minutes to allow time for the flavors to marry.

While the soup is cooking make the millet. Combine the water and millet and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes then turn the heat off and let the millet stand for 5 minutes so the water will be fully absorbed and the millet will be fluffy.

Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust before plating. When it is time to serve place some of the millet and cilantro leaves in the bottom of the bowl and top with soup. Grind little fresh grains of paradise on top. Finish with tofu sour cream and a sprig of cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge to be squeezed over the soup before eating.

Nutritional Information:

Amount per Serving
Calories - 364.83
Calories From Fat (45%) - 165.67

Total Fat - 19.09g
Saturated Fat - 6.33g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 352.94mg
Potassium - 596.72mg
Total Carbohydrates - 39.39g
Fiber - 6.84g
Sugar- 6.15g
Protein - 12.22g


I have seen recipes for African soups with peanut butter but never made one until tonight. This is really quick meal. I added millet to this dish since millet is traditionally eaten in African, and I wanted a little grain since we hadn’t had any today.

The flavor of this soup is difficult to describe. I can taste the peanut, tomato and coconut milk and they work really well together. Turmeric, which was harsh and bitter at the beginning of cooking mellowed out and became a very subtle background flavor. I used whole seeds in this dish because I like the textural variation. If you prefer a completely smooth soup you should grind them before adding them to the soup. This soup has a flavor that is mild enough that I think anyone would enjoy it (even those that aren’t adventurous).

Next time I make this soup I will make a few changes. First I will add some cubed sweet potato to the soup, which I think will be great with the flavors. Next, I will add some fresh chopped peanuts, which I should have thought of tonight. Overall this is a really good soup that I will be repeating. And to think both the hubby and I were dubious of the idea of peanut butter in soup. In my mind this is another example of why it is important to have an open mind and try new things. If you like satay, you will probably like this sound, the flavors are very consistent.

Unrelated Note:

Currently culturing in my microwave (not on but a place where the cats can’t go) is some raw pumpkin seed cheese. Since my husband was taken by that at 105 degrees I decided to make my own version of it. I used the process from the macadamia nut cheese recipe, but substituted raw pumpkin seeds instead. I will post the results of that experiment tomorrow after I get finished cooking with Sue.

I need to reread the recipes we will be veganizing from Ad Hoc At Home tomorrow and get myself organized for the day of cooking. I will probably not be posting until tomorrow evening.

I hope you all have a great evening and good day tomorrow. Talk to you later.


  1. Rose,

    Thanks! The hubby was concerned when I told him what I was making this evening. He quickly came around and decided he liked it. This may be another soup that I repeat regularly. It was so quick and easy. We had it was spinach salad for dinner.


  2. I really have been enjoying dishes that use peanut butter. Gives it such a richness.

  3. I'm with you on being apprehensive about peanut butter soups. I do trust you though, so if the mood strikes me I will try it! :)

  4. Heather,

    I really loved this soup. While I wasn't too certain before I made it I am big fan now. You are right about the richness.


    If you like satay you will like this soup. The flavors are very similar. My hubby was very suspect but ended up really liking it.


  5. Oh My Goodness! This soup looks and sounds really really GOOD! I AM so happy to find out that you've really made the most use of this book, in less than a week you cooked so many yummy recipes from this wonderful book. I'm so impressed, Alicia!!!

  6. Oraphan,

    This was surprisingly good. Dan was skeptical, but decided it remined him of what a food would taste like if satay married soup. It has great flavor and texture.

    You are right, I am making good use of the book. There may be another soup tomorrow. ;)


  7. "Satay married soup" sounds so yummy and lovely! My family loves satay so much, I have to make this soup very soon. I believe they will love it:)

  8. Oraphan,

    Since you like satay you should definitely try this. My hubby fussed a little before he tasted it, but then he loved it. ;) Part of me thinks he just likes to fuss.



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