Recipe by Cyndi Amaya
When the Peanut Soup was first introduced to Red Rooster, it was a dish that highlighted African flavors and was supposed to only last during our Kwanzaa holiday menu. But that short week-long menu item pretty soon became a new staple dish at Red Rooster Harlem on our current menu and served at special events.
So we caught up with the two ladies who helped create the dish for Rooster’s menu, Chefs Maame Boakye and Rachel Hien and they offered us some background on Peanut Soup and even an easy version of it for readers to prepare at home!
According to Rachel and Maame (both of African descent), every African country has some version of Peanut Soup, especially West African countries. In some countries, like Mali, it’s not only a staple meal but it’s actually eaten every day since it’s easy to make, economical, and nutritious. Peanut Soup is traditionally served with rice and fufu (pounded cassava) and it can be made with any kind of protein like meat, crab, fish, or chicken. While it can be eaten without any meat, the more ingredients you put in the soup, the richer the dish gets.
The main ingredient, peanut butter, is one of the easy and cheapest ingredients to attain in Africa, which can account for its popularity. While most purchase ready-made peanut butter, older generations even grow, roast, and grinded their own peanuts for homemade peanut butter. Since African peanut butter is usually natural, it is almost never salted and sugared, but store-bought peanut butter can work well in the States since American consumers tend to have a sweeter palate and most often expect a hint of sweetness in the soup.
Being a family tradition for both Maame and Rachel, they both had different recipes for their Peanut Soup, but came together and compromised for one recipe that would work well for Red Rooster. Check out their recipe below for your own Peanut Soup that you can make at home.
Calories per serving: 450 per serving
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced red onions
2 habañero peppers, whole
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 quarts water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, avocado, lime juice, and crushed peanuts to garnish
1. Heat saucepan and add oil, garlic, onions and habaneros to sweat for about 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes let cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste and cook out for another 5 minutes. Then add peanut butter and mix well until peanut butter melts and mixes well with paste.
3. Add 2 quarts of water and mix very well until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour to cook out the fresh peanut taste. Drizzle with olive oil and add a little chopped avocado, crushed peanuts and lime juice if desired for garnish. Serve with rice or fufu.
* If adding a protein to the soup, start off by cooking the meat first with the onions, oil, and garlic and then follow same steps.