Groundnut soup is a nutty, savory and spicy Nigerian peanut stew commonly eaten for lunch or dinner. In Nigeria, peanut stew or groundnut soup is usually eaten with a carbohydrate like rice or a ‘swallow’ like eba. While prevalent all over Nigeria, groundnut soup was originally a product of the Northern part of the country where it is natively called ‘miyar gyada’ and is a common staple in special events such as Weddings and even funerals. I tasted my first groundnut soup as a child in Lagos, (located in the Southwest region of Nigeria) and… it was terrible! It was really bad guys, I can’t lie. After that first time, it was years till I found my love for groundnut soup again. I have since learned to make peanut stews specific to different West African countries and am excited to start with my home country Nigeria! I had to redeem my Nigerian peanut stew experience and my Lawd, did it turn out right! The groundnut soup recipe is right below, but if you want to know the story of how my love for groundnut soup was killed then restored, read past the recipe! Enjoy!
How to Make Groundnut Soup
- 2 cups raw skinned peanuts (you can also use peanut butter as long as it the only ingredients contained are peanuts and perhaps salt)
- 3 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers roughly chopped (use less if you do not like spicy food)
- 0.5 lbs (about 227 grams) of chopped spinach about 5 cups chopped, about 2 cups frozen
- 2 tablespoons of West African dried shrimp powder aka crayfish
- 3 tablespoons palm oil
- Salt to taste
Braise the Goat Meat
Toast and Blend the Peanuts
Take the stew off the heat and serve.
Storytime…How I came to Love Groundnut Soup
Once upon a time, my parents loaded me and my four sisters into our family car, and we drove about an hour from home to visit our distant relatives. When I say distant I mean like in-law’s sister’s cousin’s uncle’s wife’s brother… so a very long distance! While I still don’t remember these relatives’ names, faces or anything at all about them, I distinctly remember my food experience at their house, so let’s just call them the Pepper-less family.
Read more How to make tomato soup without onion and garlic
I must have been about 14 years old. I was enjoying the family road trip on our way to drop off gifts for the Pepper-less family that another family member had asked us to deliver to them. The prospect of meeting new family members we had never met before, somewhat excited us and we looked forward with anticipation to what our new relatives would be like. I have a ton of family members that I have not met before even till today, so it wasn’t unusual. Still, it was typically nice to meet new family. Once we arrived at the Pepper-less home, they were very welcoming and nice to us. I was also low-key excited to discover that in anticipation of our arrival they had prepared a mini-feast for us to enjoy.
Once we arrived the Pepper-less family offered us the typical Nigerian visitor drinks; 5-alive orange, Chivita pineapple, Maltina, and of course some Eva water. Their drinks were lit! If only I knew that the drinks were going to be the only good tasting thing we would have during our visit, I would have cherished them a lot more, but I just had a small splash of the Chivita pineapple, and awaited the promised meal. The grown-ups discussed politics and the condition of Nigeria, while the Pepper-less children, still quite young, played with their toys and mostly ignored me and my sisters. I sat silently watching the African-magic channel on television in eager anticipation of the meal.
After about 30 minutes, Mrs Pepper-less invited us to the table set for my family and I. Since we were quite a handful, we took up all the chairs on the dining table. The Nigerian peanut stew dish she introduced as groundnut soup excited us since none of us had previously tried it before. The meal featured a big serve-yourself bowl of fufu, and the “piece de resistance”: groundnut soup and some stewed fish.
After my mother served all of us, we started eating. Sigh! Words cannot describe how bad this meal was. Thankfully, our hosts had conveniently excused themselves to the living room around the corner, so we could silently express our true feelings about this terrible meal. I caught my parents make faces, then fix them quickly so as not to encourage us to voice our disgust, but it was too late. One of my sisters with a stank face was the first to break the silence saying: “mommy I don’t like this, it’s not nice!”, a sentiment us kids all echoed. My mom understanding our difficulty urged us to cope since we were in someone else’s house. We all sighed and joined my dad in silent contemplation at this food and began craving the drinks they had presented to us earlier, but all we had on our table was water.
Read more 10-Minute Egg Drop Ramen Noodle Soup
Us kids proceeded to eat our fufu with no stew or soup, and chase it down with water. Since we only had a few morsels, and with no savoring to be done with this dish, it took us all of 2 minutes to finish the fufu. Our parents had some of the fish so it looked like they had eaten something, then finished their small portions of fufu only using the fufu morsels to lightly dab the stew. After the meal, we joyfully left the dining table and headed for the living room to rejoin the Pepper-less family. Of course my parents thanked them for their hospitality and the meal, and slyly used the phrase “compliments to the chef” to avoid giving false praise for the bad meal we had just endured.
Needless to say we were glad when we left the pepper-less’ home. On our way home we stopped off to buy suya (a local delicious barbecue), and when we got home we all had our suya with cold garri for dinner, to wash away the lingering taste of that groundnut soup.
What made the Pepper-less family’s groundnut soup bad? It tasted like peanuts and water, contained no seasoning (no salt, no pepper, no spices whatsoever) and featured a shredded vegetable that was as difficult to eat as bay leaves. The soup also contained odd chunks of peanut with the texture of boiled potatoes. The fish stew, just as bad, tasted straight up like raw blended tomatoes and boiled fish with no seasoning whatsoever.
Read more Ask the Test Kitchen: Tips for storing soup safely
So what motivated me to try peanut stew again years later? My Ghanaian friend Gabi. She cooks really well, and had made peanut stew one day and brought it to school. I attended the same grad school as her then fiancé, so she came to visit him with some food. She happened to have extra and offered me some, triggering a flashback of my pepper-less family groundnut soup experience. Knowing Gabi was a good cook, I prepared to try it, even if I had to criticize it later. I ended up eating the whole bowl of rice and Ghanaian peanut stew! It tasted great and I loved it!
Groundnut soup has officially become a staple for me and my family so please don’t hesitate to try it! I guarantee you’ll love it!
Please let me know if you tried this Nigerian peanut stew and if you are looking for other stew recipes, why don’t you check out the Spinach Stew: Yoruba Style recipe or the Nigerian Eggplant/Garden Egg Stew!
Please be sure to rate this groundnut soup recipe and leave a comment below if you tried this recipe! Also while you’re here why not take a quick second and subscribe to my newsletter to get email notifications on new recipes, click the links to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST or INSTAGRAM? You can catch some behind the scenes action, my shopping hauls, personalized tips and friend-only recipes with videos on my Instagram. Also pin this recipe for later and explore some of my favorite recipes on Pinterest and if you love it as much as I know you will, SHARE with some friends!
- O.F, Kayode & A.U, Ozumba & S, Ojeniyi & D.O, Adetuyi & Erukainure, Ochuko. (2010). Micro Nutrient Content of Selected Indigenous Soups in Nigeria. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 9. 10.3923/pjn.2010.962.965.