This West African soup recipe combines sweet potatoes and peanut butter with Grains of Paradise. The flavors balance beautifully and are a wonderful showcase for this exotic spice. This mythical African spice has a mild peppery taste with floral top notes that hint at ginger and cardamom. The soup is creamy, mild and not at all heavy, making it a wonderful starter or side.
Grains of Paradise Peanut Soup
- 2 teaspoons whole Indian coriander
- 1 teaspoon grains of paradise
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced thin
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- Fried shallots or onions for garnish
- In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, toast the Indian coriander and grains of paradise, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl an allow to cool. Grind in a mortar & pestle or electric mill.
- In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion, salt and sugar and allow to cook about 5-7 minutes until translucent and aromatic. Add the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and cook about 30 seconds more.
- Add the sweet potatoes, vegetable broth, water and peanut butter and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly. Working in batches so the blender is never more than half full, transfer the soup to a countertop blender and puree until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pot and warm gently before serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of fried onions and a sprinkle of the remaining spice mix.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
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