Postcard from Freetown: “How to Prepare Groundnut Soup”

Personally I love food, not just any kind of food but good healthy and well balanced diet meal. For some time now I have glut my home made Sierra Leonean delicacies. Most times when you travel, it is difficult to get some of the ingredients needed to cook local and traditional food you are accustomed to, so you have to adjust and blend to the environment you are in and sometimes improvise and experiment while cooking.

I did a lot of food improvisation back in South Africa because most of the ingredients I needed to cook Sierra Leonean dishes were “nowhere” to be found or maybe they were lurking around somewhere beyond my reach and I could not get to discover them. Oh well, that is my loose!

Since I have been in Freetown, one of my best moments is when I get to eat home cooked food I have salivated for in a while. I just can’t get enough of all the different varieties of sauces, the colourfulness’ and all that entails in these delicacies.

Last night, as we prepare to break the Ramadan fasting number six in the evening, the sun setting down, prayer was being called in the Mosque opposite my house and the fanatics, pretenders and committed Muslims all in that order rush to say their prayers before we break the fast, I renegade upon the smell coming from the Kitchen in the house. The aroma was so inviting I decided to walk by and find out what was going on – low and behold, it was the smell of hot, saucy and thick Groundnut Soup and white rice being dished out for the family in the kitchen. My eyes lit up and my taste bud went haywire!

Let me say Groundnut Soup is one of my favourite and the best way to enjoy it is to eat it with either white rice, brown rice or any kind of rice – so I thought I should share the recipe with you and let you have some of the blissful experience I had last night on my plate of food. I am sure you will thank me later for such a wise gesture on my part. So these are the ingredient you will need:

  1. 1.     Fish, Chicken or Meat (Optional according to your preference) – ensure that they are well seasoned with black pepper or any spice that you love. You can either fry or par boils the fish, chicken or meat. Personally I love my fish and chicken fried.
  2. 2.     Pepper, Onions (Spring onions), tomatoes (Optional), canned or tin tomatoes, Grind Groundnut (If that is too much work to do – use peanut butter), maggie and salt.

Please note: “there is no specified quantity but you will have use your discretion on the aforementioned ingredients which will depend whether you are cooking for the family or for just yourself.”

Method of Preparation.

  • Steam or fry the chicken, meat or fish. (Steam fish for 15 min and if you are boiling the meat, ensure to use the boiled meat water to cook the soup)
  • Pour some water into the pot, diced the pepper, onions, tomatoes together all at once and put into the pot and allow boiling for another 10 minutes.
  • Add maggie, salt and allow to boil for another 5 minute
  • Add Groundnut (peanut butter) and allow to boil for another 15 minute ( Be careful at this point not to pour too much water if you want the soup to be thick but if you prefer it lighter then that’s fine. Personally, I prefer it thick.
  • Add in your tin or canned tomatoes and allow to boil for another 10 minute and you are done.

Please note: “if you are going to be using steamed fish, do not stir too much or hard as the fish will break or scatter in the pot. So stir carefully and gently.”

Also you can add a little bit of Canola or Olive oil to give it some extra “what what”. But normally if you want to have the native feel of it, most Sierra Leoneans don’t add oil when cooking Groundnut Soup. You can have extras as your side plate like salad, steam green beans or fried plantain or anything thing that you would like to have along with it. That’s it – Hope you try it and have some Sierra Leonean food experience like I am presently having. Schweeeet! Thank me later yea.

@DanteBello on Twitter.


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