Sopa de Mani: Bolivian Peanut Soup

I was chatting with my Bolivian friend Leslie again and decided to make another Bolivian dish. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make and did not want to have to go buy tons of ingredients. After some searching on the web, I came across a recipe for soap de mani and thought it sounded amazing. It’s a peanut base soup traditionally made with chicken, raw peanuts, and carrots. It’s a little thick and sweet from the carrots. In Bolivia, soups can be a starter or main course (just like everywhere else I guess….). I left out the chicken and used purple sweet potatoes because that is what I had on hand. I found a recipe that skipped the whole raw peanut boiling step by using natural peanut butter instead. Yeah, I know it is not the traditional way, but I do not have the money to buy whole raw peanuts nor the patients to wait for them to cook down. And, since I found this recipe on an international recipe site, I am sure plenty of Bolivians cheat with peanut butter too.

Peanuts are native to the tropical regions of America. They are high in protein, vitamin B3, and vitamin E. They are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. They were consumed by the Aztecs, who even mashed them into a paste. But modern day peanut butter is quiet different than the paste the ancients ate. Most modern versions of peanut butter roast the peanuts first, and include oil to make it more spreadable and sugar to make it sweeter. Although peanuts have some health benefits, the peanut oil or other vegetable oils added to peanut butter are still fats so it should still be eaten if moderation. And natural peanut butter, meaning it is only ground up peanuts and a bit of unprocessed peanut oil, is always the best way to go. No one needs the added sugar of processed peanut butter.

This recipe is based on one from Whats4Eats called Soupa de Mani. That recipe serves 4, but I cut mine down to serve 2.

Sopa de Mani
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
3 carrots, sliced
3 small potatoes (I used purple sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Chop the onions, mince the garlic, slice the carrots, and cut up the potatoes. Always easier to prep all the veggies before you start cooking.

In a large pot, heat some oil and add the onions. Cook on medium-low heat until translucent.

Add the garlic for cook for a minute or two.

Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.

Add the carrots and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cook for another 10 minute until all the veggies are soft.

Remove a bit of the hot broth and whisk in the peanut butter to temper it.

Add the tempered peanut butter to the pot and let it simmer for a minute or two. Season with the red peppers flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

I garnished mine with a bit of basil, not sure if that is Bolivian, but I wanted a splash of green. The soup is creamy and sweet, with a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes. I loved it, the flavors blend together so nicely. I ate this with a side of mashed plantains, which I will be posting tomorrow.

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