I’m in culinary heaven. Back to my parents’ home for Christmas with a big sunny kitchen, loads of time to cook, and access to cheap food native to the north. It’s going to be a merry Christmas 😀
I spent Sunday afternoon meandering through Exclusive Stores and Wuse market, picking up groceries. I love grocery shopping. It always takes me a while to shop though because I make sure to read all the labels (you’d be surprised how many common items contain milk powder for no apparent reason). Also I tend to make up recipes as I shop, so I end up adding lots of unplanned things to my well planned shopping list. And then when I get to the checkout counter I have to play the fun game of What Do I Now Remove To Bring Down This Ridiculous Bill while the cashier side-eyes me. *sigh*
So I decided to start off my holiday cooking with groundnut soup, something I’ve wanted to make for a while but haven’t found the time. As I googled traditional groundnut soup recipes I was hit by a wave of inspiration. I decided to incorporate vegetables to boost the nutritional profile, and then to add a delicious smoky flavour I was going to grill the veggies. Gbam, I had created a new recipe, just like that! I could hardly wait to taste the outcome…
The outcome was a very rich, versatile soup that you can have with rice or a swallow. You can even add water to thin it out and have it with warm toast. Mmmm…
Without further ado, here’s how to make my Smoky Groundnut Soup!
What You Will Need
+ 2 cups roasted groundnuts
+ 1/4 cup roasted cashew nuts
+ 4 green bell peppers
+ 4 tomatoes
+ 1 full bulb of garlic or about 12 cloves
+ 2 medium size onions
+ 2 bunches of fresh uziza leaves, chopped
+ 1 teaspoon Banga soup spice mix (in the market just ask for the already ground spice mix)
+ 1 teaspoon ground peppersoup spice mix
+ 1 teaspoon dawadawa/fermented locust bean
+ 1 cup mushrooms, soaked in hot water (I used black Cloud Ear Fungus mushrooms because they are crunchy and give a nice bite to an otherwise watery soup. They look like small black leaves when dried and they expand to 5 times their size when soaked. I got these at Exclusive Stores in Wuse, Abuja)
+ Palm oil
+ Olive oil
+ Ground Cameroon pepper, salt
How To Make It
1. Prepare the veggies for grilling: peel the onions and divide into quarters. Then separate the layers (I did this part with my eyes closed, lol). Halve the green peppers and take out the seeds. Halve the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves. Put all the veggies in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat them in the oil.
2. Grill the veggies: spread out the veggies on a baking tray with the skin facing up and grill till they become blackened, but not burnt. This will take about 30 mins. Start with the tomatoes for the first 10 mins, then add the peppers and onions. The garlic should go in at the last 5 mins.
3. Blend the grilled veggies: throw everything from the grill into a blender, add the dawadawa and little water and blend into a thick paste.
3. Grind the groundnuts and cashews into a fine powder using a food processor or the milling attachment on a blender. If using the milling attachment you’ll have to do it in small batches.
4. Fry the veggie mix in 1/4 cup of palm oil (about 4 tablespoons) for about 20 mins.
5. Stir in the groundnut powder gradually. Do it in small batches and stir constantly to avoid lumps forming. Add the mushrooms (with the water they were soaked in), spices and salt. If it is so thick that it is difficult to stir, add some water.
6. Leave to simmer for about 30 mins, stirring constantly. This soup burns easily so keep a close eye on it!
7. Add the uziza leaves, stir, and leave to simmer for 5 mins. And you’re done!
I don’t know about you but I like to reward myself for a job well done. I promptly boiled some rice and sat down to enjoy the fruit of my labours.
If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments!