January 5, 2005
Spicy Peanut Soup

If you eat soup a lot, it's good to have something unusual to pull out every once in a while. This is the new special guest on the Mannix of my cooking life.

This soup is spicy and nutty. The recipe is a mix of Ghanan groundnut and a Jamaican spicy soup. The first thing this soup says to you is "Hey howdy!" with the red pepper and cayenne and then you'll settle in for a nice long civilized conversation with the peanuts and vegetables.

I'd drink milk or beer with this soup. Milk will help keep the hot under control and as a bonus, it makes the proteins in the peanut butter more easily available to your body to absorb.

Spicy Peanut Soup
1 large onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

3 diced celery stalks
2 diced carrots
2 diced medium starchy potatoes
2 red Thai chile peppers - the long thin ones
5 cups vegetable stock

8 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
12 oz corn kernels, fresh, canned or frozen
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crushed salted roasted peanuts

Smaller dices are better for this soup. 1/4" or less is ideal for all vegetables.

Remove the seeds and membranes from the hot peppers. Chop finely.

Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the cayenne, stir and sautee 1 minute longer.

Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and chopped chili pepper. Stir and sautee four minutes more then add the stock. Bring up to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Add the peanut butter and corn and stir until the peanut butter is dissolved. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with crushed peanuts sprinkled on top.

The net heat from this soup is not as bad as you might think. The oil from the peanut butter helps to reduce the heat from the cayenne, red chili, and black pepper.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at January 5, 2005 1:53 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

If the heat does get too bad, I'd guess you could also add some coconut milk and end up with a very passable Thai massaman curry. (For something more authentic, you'd also want to add galangal, lemongrass, tamarind, coriander, and cumin. And then probably some more Thai bird peppers to counteract the heat-reducing powers of the coconut milk...)

Posted by Sweth Chandramouli on January 5, 2005 at 12:19 PM

I haven't ventured into Thai food much. I do like massaman curries, so I may just give that a try.

First, I need to make a good Tom Kha Yod Phaeng (veggie and tofu Tom Kha Kai), since that is one of the five best soups of all time.

Posted by barrett on January 5, 2005 at 12:41 PM

You mean Tom Kha Kai is one of the five best soups ever, right? ; )

I'd be willing to try your veggie version but it would surprise me if it made the top five!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 7, 2005 at 4:08 PM
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