African Soup is the term used to collectively refer to the various soups served in African cuisine. Every region of the continent has a soup variety of its own, such as South African soup, West African soup, etc.,which mainly differ on the basis of ingredients used and cooking style adopted. Prepared and served in both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian variations, African soups are most often served as an appetizer. Some of the most popular of African soups include African beef soup, African chicken soup, African peanut soup, African bean soup, etc.
The soups from Africa are very simple and are prepared with everyday pantry items. African cuisine encapsulates the essences of various European, and Asian food cultures. Lentils, yams, peanuts, corns, egusi seed, kale, sweet potato, and rice are some of the ingredients used in the preparation of soups. Every soup carries the imprint of the region where it is cooked.
Popular African Soup Recipes
- North African Chickpea Soup: This North African soup is known as Lablabi and it is enjoyed in Tunisia. Chickpea is a staple food in most of the North African homes and various types of stews and soups are prepared using it. Lablabi is prepared using chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, day-old bread, garlic, harissa sauce, cumin, and salt. Mostly day-old French breads are preferred for making the soup. The chickpeas are boiled in water, vegetable stock or chicken stock and combined with other ingredients. The soup can be enriched with the addition of fried garlic, onions, and other vegetable.
- Ndole (Bitterleaf) Soup: This is a very popular soup from the Central African Country of Cameroon and it is also known as Ndole or N’dole. This African soup is prepared from a variety of ingredients and for non-Africans the combinations may appear odd. The bitter leaf adds a unique flavor to the soup, but greens and spinach can also be used. Generally, bitter Leaf, prawns or shrimps, smoked fish; shelled peanuts, onion, fresh ginger roots, tomatoes, various types of peppers like chili, cayenne, red, bell, chicken stock, thyme, and rosemary are used in the preparation of Ndole. The soup preparation is a very broad process and it involves different stages of cooking. This African soup variant is served with fufu, Baton de Maniac, or boiled potato and yam.
- Peanut Soups: Peanut soups are popular throughout Africa. Some are very simple to prepare and some involve long procedures. Normally these soups are enjoyed with rice or fufu- like foods, such as Ugali and Baton de Manioc. Generally, ingredients such as chicken stock, onion, sweet green pepper, garlic, hot chili pepper, carrot, tomatoes, and natural unsweetened peanut butter or peanut soup. In a simple way peanut soup is prepared by combining the chicken stock with shelled peanuts, and cream or milk. Colonial American peanut soup is also popular in Africa and it is prepared by combining the roux (prepared by heating flour and butter), leek, and celery and other ingredients as the ones mentioned above. Cream or milk is added to the soup before serving.
Unusual African Soup Recipe
Elephant Soup: This soup is named so because in ancient times it was prepared using the elephant flesh. Since ancient times the hunt in African villages meant a share of flesh for everyone in the village and hunting used to be a collective social routine. If there was excess meat after sharing, it was dried in sun and preserved for use in other seasons. The elephant soup was prepared with dried elephant meat, beef stock, mirepoicks, onion, peanuts, lentils, leek, wumubu mushrooms, butter, cream and pepper. Today, biltong or dried smoked jerky is used in place of elephant flesh to make the elephant soup.