West African Sweet Potato Soup


  • 2 cups chopped onion 
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or other ground chiles 
  • 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger 
  • 1 cup chopped carrots 
  • 2 cups chopped sweet potatoes 
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water [I use 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock] 
  • 2 cups tomato juice [or canned sliced tomatoes] 
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter 
  • 1 Tbsp sugar [optional, depends how sweet the peanut butter is] 
  • chopped scallions 
  • chopped roasted peanuts 

Sauté onion in oil until it is transluscent. Stir in cayenne and ginger.  Add carrots and sauté a couple minutes more. Mix in potatoes and stock, bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes (until the vegetables are tender).  

Puree the vegetables with tomato juice (and some of the cooking liquid if necessary) in a blender or food processor. [I usually skip this step, preferring to only mash the vegs a little with a potato masher and keep 
the soup chunky] Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Check sweetness and add sugar if necessary. Reheat gently, using a heat diffuser if necessary to prevent scorching. Add more water, stock, or tomato juice to make a thinner soup if desired. Serve topped with plenty of chopped scallions and chopped roasted peanuts. [I often add some garlic] 

Serves 6-8