This Peanut Butter Soup recipe is inspired by West African Peanut Soup and has a lot of similar ingredients, but with a bit of a Caribbean twist. It's a hearty soup full of vegetables, savory flavor, and a bit of spice. Top with cilantro and chopped peanuts, and serve with rice for a delicious meal.
I have such a strong connection to this recipe. When I studied abroad, I went to Ghana for 5 days and ate everything I could get my hands on. I fell in love with banku, jollof rice, fufu, and this creamy peanut soup (also known as groundnut soup).
I walked into a small restaurant and ordered this spicy soup on a hot day and was sweating and enjoying every single drop. It was full of veggies, super tender fall off the bone chicken, spices, and a delicious creamy peanut butter flavor that was just to die for. The soup was served with rice and little bits of peanuts on top and to this day is one of my most fond memories.
Fast forward to today, who knew I'd be chronicling my travel memories via a food blog (I was supposed to go to medical school - didn't happen) and talking about one of my favorite soups?
In 2023, the theme of Black History Month is Black Resistance and Eat the Culture is recognizing the remarkable and, frankly, underrated resistance of our ancestors in bringing culinary traditions across the Atlantic to shape the vibrance of Black cuisine that we know and love today. They physically and mentally carried African foodways across the deadly Middle Passage to pass down through generations. This year’s Black History Month Virtual Potluck traces popular dishes of the Diaspora from their West African roots to North America and beyond. You can grab the full list of recipes from this year’s collaboration on the Eat the Culture website.
Share these recipes with your friends and loved ones and follow each participant by using the hashtag #BHMVP2023 on Instagram.
Maafe/mafe or groundnut stew, is a West African staple that commonly includes chicken, tomato, onions, and garlic. Today, I’m teaching you how to make Peanut Butter Soup with ingredients commonly used in the Caribbean to show the influence of African cuisine on Caribbean cooking via the transatlantic slave trade.
Enslaved African people brought this savory tradition to the Americas dating as far back as the 16th century, with a large portion of people being transported to the Caribbean. From this displacement, many enslaved Africans used the vegetables that were readily available to them and began merging their native cuisine and cooking methods with foods indigenous to the Caribbean.
This peanut butter soup recipe, in particular, is inspired Ital cuisine and combines the traditional African peanut soup recipe with Rastafarian influence.
Ital, meaning "vital", is a belief system held by Rastafarians. This belief system dictates that they should consume a diet that comes from the Earth, or a plant-based diet full of vegetables and fruits that nourish the body. To incorporate these flavors, this soup is full of Jamaican flavors like ginger, curry, turmeric, and veggies like sweet potato, carrots, and squash.
Rastafarianism was culture developed from enslaved Afro-Jamaicans who integrated their African beliefs with Christianity. It was a spiritual movement that encouraged people to live naturally. I encourage you to follow the story through Maafe from West Africa and Southern Peanut Soup from the Southern US.
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