A spicy, delicious West African curry & peanut soup. An African classic soup, this one will warm you up on a cold Winters day.
A spicy and delicious curry soup that is not too hot, this is one of our favorites. We eat this regularly, with a big chunk of crusty bread, so I am very excited to share this with you.
I first read about Senegalese Chicken Soup from an article in TV Guide about the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Remember that guy? The ingredients looked so appetizing and I was a relatively inexperienced cook back then. The first attempt while following the recipe exactly, resulted in a soup that was too spicy to eat. The taste was phenomenal so many tries later I have the recipe exactly to our liking. I also simplified a few steps to make it easier than the original recipe. If you have a stick blender or food processor then ‘This soup is for you!’ If not, that’s OK too:)
A little history of West African cuisine
Senegal is on the western coast of northern Africa with much diversity in its languages and cuisine. While under French colonial rule, many Vietnamese immigrated there during the First Indochina War. The coastal location allows for easy trade routes which has given Senegal easy access to spices and other culinary goodness. The main proteins there are peanuts and seafood. They also have chicken, lamb, beef but not pork. Meat other than seafood is a luxury and is eaten in moderation, the most accessible being chicken. Their other main agricultural products remind me of living in Texas. They have similar climates and grow similar vegetables. Their staples are peas, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, white rice and couscous. Their national dish is called Thieboudienne or Ceebu Jen, ‘The Rice of Fish’. It sounds wonderful and I may have to give it a go sometime. It’s fish that has been marinated with parsley, lemon, garlic, onions (amongst other herbs), and then later cooked with tomato paste and a variety of vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. Rice is later added to the mix giving it a reddish look similar to Spanish Paella.
This soup starts off with some Indian spices, onions and garlic. I love any excuse to open my Indian spice tin, the aroma that greets me in the face is like a little kiss from the spice angels. Every time I open this tin I wonder the same thing, ‘Why don’t I cook more indian food?’. Just like in Indian cooking, after softening the onions, the spices are added to ‘bloom’ them, or really to get them to release their oils. It makes a difference, giving the dish a bit more depth in the flavor department.
The broth is then added to stop the blooming and to blend the flavors together. After some simmering the soup base is blended and peanut butter is added which gives a surprising creaminess and nutty flavor. All the rest of the ingredients are added and some more simmering brings this beautiful soup together. This is really easy, I hope you give this amazing soup a try.
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Bon appetit y’all!