We are traveling to Mali this month. I think we were just there! For this month’s Proven Platter recipe, I decided to see what was already on the site, and choose a recipe to put through my testing process. The result is that I’ve revamped and replaced the recipe for West African Peanut Soup (Tigua Dege Ne).
West African Peanut Soup is a common soup/stew made with basic ingredients, with the addition of peanut butter. Most recipes you’ll find include potatoes, eggplant, squash, cabbage, and/or canned tomatoes. These are all good choices for a winter-style stew.
But since it’s May, I thought why not lighten this up by using spring vegetables? I did so, and also used fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones, as I think this gives the soup a fresher spring flavor as well.
I used asparagus, snow peas, and the very nontraditional baby bok choy. But feel free to come up with your own variations, such as green beans, sliced bell peppers, zucchini squash, or spinach.
This soup will please just about everybody as it is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free!
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West African Peanut Soup
Serves 4 to 6
This delicious peanut soup is easy and quick, I’d say 30 to 45 minutes, tops. The soup base can be made one day ahead of time, as described in my notes in the recipe below. This vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free soup should please all diners! A scoop of white rice makes a nice accompaniment and a heartier meal.
2 tbsp. oil
2 cups onion, chopped (about 1 large)
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 tbsp. tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup peanut butter (any kind)
4 cups vegetable stock, or water
½ to 1 tsp. salt
1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
1 cup diagonally sliced snow peas
2 to 3 heads baby bok choy, sliced
Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil and onions. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic, stir for a moment, then add the curry powder and ginger. Give that a minute over the heat to toast the spices, then add the tomato paste. Let the paste cook for a minute or two until it begins to brown a little bit and caramelize.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes and peanut butter. Mix well, then add the vegetable stock and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let this simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. More salt can be added at this point, if necessary. The soup base up to this point can be prepared one day ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.
When you are ready to serve your soup, bring the soup base back to a simmer and add the fresh vegetables. Let the soup simmer for a few more minutes until the vegetables are just done, but still bright green and a little crispy.
Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy