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African Sweet Potato And Peanut Soup

February 4, 2010

You know what kind of annoys me?  When people refer to Africa as if it is one country.  People are so quick to label art as “African” or clothes as “African.”  There are almost 50 countries in Africa!  Can’t we give them a little respect and narrow down a characteristic to a country rather than a continent?  I mean, they all have populations that speak different languages, after all.

Am I valid in being annoyed by this?  Probably not.  I’m not African.  I don’t know why it rubs we the wrong way.  It just does and I welcome your opinion on this (trivial?) matter.

I’m hesitant to label this recipe as African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup even though all 5 recipes I adapted to create this one had that adjective in the name.  Why am I hesitant?  Well, I went to Africa, once , ahem, a decade ago.  Kenya, to be exact.  And I didn’t eat anything like this soup while I was there.  And before you ask, yes, I remember every single thing I ate.  So, I know this recipe I’ve created might be inspired but some country in Africa, but I never tasted anything like it while I was visiting Kenya.  So I can safely call it Not-Kenyan-Sweet Potato-and-Peanut-Soup.

But I know one thing it can surely be labeled as: abso-freaking-loutely delicious. If you’ve never tried peanut butter in a savory form, this is a great recipe to start with.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup (serves 4)
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
1.5 tsp coriander
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
dash cayenne
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, chopped
2-3 T peanut butter
1 sweet potato
2 tsp minced ginger
3 cups chopped kale (optional)
1 cup chick peas
garnish: sliced scallions and chopped peanuts

Saute onions until soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook on low heat until soft, about 3 more minutes.  Stir in ginger and spices.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add water, diced tomatoes, carrot, and sweet potato.  Simmer 20-30 minutes over low heat, until vegetables are soft.  Puree soup.  Stir in 2-3 T of peanut butter.  Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.   Add chickpeas and kale 5 minutes before serving, stirring until it wilts.

Serves 4
Calories 221.6
Total Fat 5.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 280.0 mg
Potassium 596.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.9 g
Dietary Fiber 9.4 g
Sugars 8.8 g
Protein 9.6 g

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2010 9:33 pm

    This looks so good! I didn’t eat anything like it when I was in Uganda either, but I did eat LOTS of goat. And bananas.

    The lumping-together of African countries doesn’t bug me as much as when people call something Asian just because it has soy sauce in it. Korean food and Thai food are both Asian but they are SOO different! Not to mention all the other countries with their own unique cooking styles.

    By the way, I thought of you tonight because my dinner started with a whole bunch of kale. And now this comment is so long I probably should have just emailed you instead!

  2. February 4, 2010 9:58 pm

    Ha ha! I have never been to Kenya, sadly, unless you count a 12 hour layover in the airport. I have been to Uganda and like Cate had goat. When I was in Nigeria and Malawi I had stuff with peanut butter in it. Or ground nuts, as they say. Zambia was more regular food.

    OK, all that aside, I do think I need to try this recipe!

  3. February 7, 2010 1:36 am

    I can always remember everything single thing I eat on vacation too – why can’t I remember work stuff? LOL

    This looks SO flavorful and delicious with all those spices and peanut butter – yum!

  4. February 9, 2010 11:20 am

    I love peanut soups, I can’t wait to try this one. My mouth is just watering looking at the pictures! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. March 5, 2010 8:59 am

    I was just sounding off about this on my own cooking blog…. I think I went with West African/ Senegalese Peanut Stew but I am still uneasy with it because I have never been to Senegal. The kale looks good though!

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