Groundnut has to be one of the most universally loved foods. I am yet to meet anyone who hates groundnuts, except those who suffer from nut allergies, and to them I sincerely say sorry. I am a huge fan of groundnut, so imagine my joy when I was introduced to this soup at a friend’s house (shout out to Benny Adeola). I loved it so much that I hounded her for weeks to teach me how to prepare it.
You see, she is from Edo state, and this soup is popular amongst the people from Etsako. In their language it is called Omisagwe. It is also similar to Miyan Taushe a delicacy from Northern Nigeria. Its Asian relative to a little extent (the only commonality – peanut paste) is Satay Sauce. Groundnut soup is a perfect blend of sweet and savoury. If you are a getting bored of the everyday Vegetable soup or Egusi, this soup will be a lovely change you and your family will enjoy. Our vegetable soups can be a little overwhelming for a non Nigerian, so if you are trying to introduce him or her to Nigerian soups, this is a great place to start, as the main ingredient is familiar. Now to mummy’s with fussy eaters (bless your soul). If your children have been turning their noses up at some Nigerian soups, prepare this for them and simply tell a little white lie – it is made with peanut butter. That should get them running to the dining table, and trust me, they’ll stay there. Lol
1 cup raw un-skinned groundnuts
¼ cup oziza seeds
1 handful of chopped Efinrin – basil can be used as a substitute
1 medium sized smoked fish – I used Eja Osan
1 medium sized stockfish
An assortment of boiled meats
3 – 4 Ata Rodo or more – I will say more because you’ll enjoy this soup spicy
1 red onion
1 cooking spoonful of Palm oil
1 cup periwinkle
Seasoning cube – optional* Knorr Chicken cube preferred
Season and boil the meats with chopped onions – I used Goat meat, Cowleg, Pomo (cow skin), Saki (tripe – cow stomach) and Stockfish. Make sure you are left with some stock
Dry roast the groundnuts and oziza seeds for 2 – 3 minutes in a frying pan, shaking the pan regularly. I find that roasting spices and nuts in a pan releases the oils and intensifies the flavour.
In a mill, blend the groundnut and the oziza seeds until you achieve finely textured powder and set aside. If you have a grainy texture, simply blend again. The longer you blend, you will notice the powder transforming into a paste. This is as a result of the oils in the nuts and the seeds. Roughly blend the Ata Rodo and set aside.
When the meats are tender, shred the stockfish into bite sized portions. Shred the smoked fish and add to the pot. Let this cook for 5 minutes to infuse the stock with the flavor of the smoked fish
Add a cooking spoonful of palm oil and let it boil in the stock for 5 minutes till the stock has a reddish colour.Groundnuts already contain oil, so use palm oil sparingly.
Add the blended Ata Rodo, stir, and let this boil till it properly combines in the stock. This should take 2 – 3 minutes. Taste the stock for salt and seasoning, and re-adjust if necessary. There’s a very strong chance you won’t need to. If you notice from the pictures, I have very little stock liquid in the pot. This is to create a very rich and strong tasting stock from all the components. Your stock must always be the flavour base of your soup. Then add the periwinkles.
Let this cook for 10 minutes, and watch as the soup thickens.If you are left with a watery consistency, simply add extra powder in cooking spoonful increments every 5 minutes. Why? The soup will thicken every few minutes, so don’t add too much extra groundnut powder at once, otherwise you’ll be left with a thick sludge.
Add a handful of chopped Efinrin, stir and let this cook for 2 – 3 minutes under low heat. Stir again afterwards and taste for salt and seasoning.
…………and there you have it Groundnut Soup. Serve with Yellow Garri or Pounded Yam.
I have anticipated some of the questions you may have –
Q: Can you cook this soup without the oziza seeds?
A: Hmmn, Benny will say no no no, and I will agree with her. You want to enjoy the full richness of this soup, so don’t leave out a key ingredient. Regarding oziza seeds, I tried to think of a substitute and I did a blind taste test with black peppercorns. It was pretty close in taste. Biting into oziza seeds also leaves a tingling peppery sensation on your tongue. So I’ll go out on a limb and suggest black peppercorns if you can’t find oziza seeds.
Q: Can you use any other vegetable?
A: I’ll say no too. Efinrin is not just an added bonus in Groundnut soup. It is a key ingredient that forms part of the flavor profile. So, vegetables like Ugwu or Spinach will do nothing for the soup, you may as well leave them out.
Q: Can you use roasted groundnut?
A: Yes you can, although it won’t be my first choice, because roasted groundnut already tastes different. Also, the texture of the soup is likely to be grainy instead of smooth, unless you’ve got a very powerful mill or you blend multiple times.
Q: Can you use peanut butter?
A: Honestly I don’t know. This is not Satay sauce. I really can’t recommend something I have never tried before.
Q: Where’s the crayfish?
A: I left it out intentionally. Personally, I don’t like crayfish with creamy textured soups.
Q: Can you make this with hazelnuts, cashew nuts, tiger nuts?
A:Err, I don’t know o
I hope I’ve answered any concerns that you may have raised. On a final note, calling on all nut lovers, here’s a challenge for you. I have eaten Miyan Taushe only once, and not to offend anyone, but I really didn’t fancy it. This may be due to who prepared it, and not the dish itself.
So, if you’ve got a wicked recipe for Miyan Taushe, enlighten me please, so I can try it out too. Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures and I’ll put it on the blog and acknowledge the author. I’ll be waiting.
Dunni Obata is an IT Project Manager by day and a cook the rest of the time. She loves entertainment and one of her bad habits is feeding people. When she’s not cooking, she’s watching the Food Network. Dunni is very passionate about Nigerian food and believes they have a lot to offer globally. Visit her blog –www.dooneyskitchen.com