This soup is absolutely delicious. It’s called mafé in West Africa. Peanuts and tomatoes together are somehow very comforting, maybe it’s the mix of acidity and sweetness? I used this recipe (with inspiring story) here as a start. I found it so interesting how the cabbage is sliced into quarters and eighths so that the leaves stick together, instead of just chopping it up. It does stay nice and crunchy this way. But there are many different versions of this dish, so (almost) anything goes in terms of vegetable ingredients. Also, I made my own peanut-cashew butter -much easier than I thought! But ready-made peanut butter is totally fine, and in fact what most mafé recipes recommend.
Senegalese - inspired peanut and cashew soup with vegetables
- One tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil
- One red onion, chopped
- Three cloves of garlic, chopped
- Two tablespoons of tomato paste
- A handful of peanuts, best if they are already roasted, and a handful of cashews - alternatively: three tablespoons of peanut butter
- One large or two small sweet potatoes
- About ten cherry tomatoes
- One red bell pepper
- Half of a small green cabbage, I used savoy cabbage
- About 500 ml, two cups of vegetable stock
- Chili spice or fresh chili
- Heat the oil in a large pot or saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft over moderate heat, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste and chili, then the vegetable broth, and bring everything to a simmer, stirring well.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables: peel and chop the sweet potato into one-inch cubes, de-seed the bell pepper and cut it into bite-sized pieces, and cut the tomatoes in half. Carefully slice the cabbage in quarters or eights lenghtwise, don't remove the core in the middle. Then cut all the cabbage pieces in two, cross wise. The cabbage leaves should still stick together, but not be too big to eat.
- When the broth is simmering, add all the vegetables and close the lid. Let them cook for about ten minutes.
- Now it's time for the peanut-cashew butter. If you'd like to skip this step, you could just use ready made peanut butter. If you want to make your own, grind the nuts in a food processor with half a teaspoon of oil. They turn into a smooth paste after three or four minutes. More details and a better description can be found on The Kitchn. By the way, I mixed peanuts with cashews because I love their taste, but normally, this recipe is made with peanuts only, so feel free to go either way. Depending on how much nuts you use, you'll have some leftovers to use later.
- Add three tablespoons of the peanut/cashew mix, or the peanut butter, to the broth and stir well so that the paste dissolves. Cook for another ten minutes with the lid open, to allow the soup to thicken.
- Season with salt and more chili - the soup should be really spicy :)
- Test the vegetables for doneness by trying little pieces; when they are ready, serve the soup hot over rice, couscous or bulgur, or just by itself (which is what I like best). Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and/or some parsley. It tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!