I am a little bit obsessed with yams, and when we moved to Victoria a few years ago, I discovered (and immediately fell in love with) African Yam and Peanut Soup at a local diner. I’ve made it a few times on my own now, and every single time I’ve tried to make it, I’ve gone through the same sequence:
First, I automatically assume that I prepared the soup using a recipe (because I am not a psychic and have no idea what belongs in a Yam and Peanut soup– aside from the obvious: yams and peanuts). So I search through all of our cook books for the elusive Yam and Peanut Soup recipe. There is no such recipe in any of our books, even in our Daily Soup Cookbook (which truly shocks me).
Next, I head to Epicurious and look for the recipe there, figuring that I must have got the recipe online. (After all, I am not a soup psychic and have no idea what belongs in a Yam and Peanut Soup!) I endure a frustrating search for my precious recipe on the website, again finding nothing. I even refine my search for the single word ‘peanut’ and again for the single word ‘yam’, but it’s clearly not there.
So I find my way to Google and type in “Yam and Peanut Soup Recipe”. There, I find all sorts of recipes, some from Epicurious, some from AllRecipes, some from Recipezaar, and some from personal blogs. I click on each link individually and bemoan the fact that none of these recipes is the one that I originally used when I first made the soup. Where is my precious recipe for Yam and Peanut Soup??
Then I remember that Marty has taught me to be a little more creative in the kitchen. (When I first met him, I followed recipes down to the grain of sugar and drop of lemon juice and found it impossible to create anything except toast without using a recipe.) It dawns on me that I have always cooked the Yam and Peanut Soup using a creative hybrid of many online recipes, omitting ingredients here and adding ingredients there. Alas, until now, I have never bothered to keep any record of the actual soup recipe I’ve used, thus starting the sequence anew every time I’ve wanted to cook Yam and Peanut Soup.
Well, I’ve finally decided to post the hybrid recipe I use here– take that, frustrating recipe search! Mark my word: I won’t have to endure the agony of the eternal recipe search ever again. (And a word of warning beforehand to people like me who get all caught up in picky eating tendencies: even though the ingredients totally don’t sound like they belong together– e.g., cinnamon, red hot chili flakes, yams, and tomatoes?– and even though the idea of putting peanut butter in a soup still makes me cringe, the soup is actually really delicious. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.)
For Future Reference: African Yam and Peanut Soup
You will need:
– 1 tbsp coconut oil or other cooking oil
– 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
– 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
– 1.5 tsp ground cumin seeds
– 1.5 tsp ground coriander seeds
– 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
– 0.5 to 1 tsp red hot chili pepper flakes
– 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
– 3 medium yams, peeled and cubed into small (1 cm) pieces
– 2 to 3 carrots, sliced
– 1 large can diced tomatoes
– 6-8 cups vegetable broth or water
– 1/2 cup peanut butter (has to be the natural stuff, with nothing except peanuts and maybe salt in it– do not use Skippy or other brands like that, which contain icing sugar and would taste NASTY in a savoury soup like this)
– chopped fresh parsley or cilantro to taste
How to cook the soup:
1. In a large covered pot, sauté the onions and coconut oil on very low heat for approx 10 minutes.
2. Once the onions are nearly translucent, add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt, and yams to the pot. Add approx 1 cup of broth to the pot, stir, cover, and saute on low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add carrots, diced tomatoes, and 1 more cup of broth to the pot. Stir, cover, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
4. Add remainder of broth to the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, turn to low heat and simmer (covered) on low heat for 30 minutes.
5. Blend soup with a hand blender, and spoon in peanut butter, mixing well. Soup should be smooth and thick in texture.
6. Add chopped parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.
7. Serve and enjoy!