I wanted to make a Sub-Saharan side dish to go with my West African chicken stew. I knew I wanted to use garbanzo beans and spinach, but all the dishes I found on-line threw in peanut butter to “make it African.” Since my chicken dish already contained peanut butter, I did not want to use it—two dishes that taste too similar is not interesting. I had to find another way to make my dish “African.”
Searching for Sub-Saharan spice blends, I found one for East African Masala Meusi. This is what I was looking for—”African” without peanuts. I quickly adapted the spice recipe to my dish.
Piri-piri (also spelled peri peri) is a very spicy North African chili. If you have a source of the powdered chili use it, but in America it is much easier to find Peri-peri sauce at some high end markets or Portuguese markets.
Karl’s African Spinach Soup
2 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. poppy seeds
¼ tsp. coriander seeds
¼ tsp. yellow mustard seeds
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. mace
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼+ tsp. Piri-piri powder or Piri-piri sauce (or minced scotch-bonnet chilies)
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 red onion, chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth for Vegan)
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans
1 can (15 oz.) fire roasted tomatoes
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
1. Toast the cumin, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds in a small dry pan for two minutes, until fragrant.
2. When the seeds have cooled, put them in a spice grinder and add the cloves, mace, and cinnamon.
Tip: If you are using piri-piri powder at it now. However if you are using the sauce add it to directly the pot when you add the spices.
3. Process the spices to a fine powder and reserve.
4. Add the oil to a soup pot and sauté the onions with the salt, over a medium heat, until the onions are starting to pick up some color.
5. Pull the onions to the sides of the pot and saute the garlic in the hole in the center until fragrant.
6. Stir the spices into the onions and continue cooking for one minute.
7. Add the broth to the pot.
8. Process the garbanzo beans into a paste.
Tip: Use a standing blender or put the beans in a bowl and use an immersion blender.
Note: Do not drain the bean liquid.
9. Add the bean paste and the tomatoes, with their liquid, to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
Tip: Taste and add more salt and/or piri-piri at this point.
10. Stir the spinach and simmer for five more minutes.
11. Serve warm.