Akoko Nkate Nkwan (Chicken Groundnut Soup)

If you have been visiting my blog here or a follower on Instagram, you will know by now that Ghanaians love their soups. A good meal by Ghanaian standards will usually be a hearty soup with some carbohydrate usually fufu. Interestingly for me, I have never been able to eat fufu after the 1983 famine in Ghana. I’ll save the details of this story for another post. But for me, my go to carbohydrate for a hearty soup is rice balls, see here for recipe.

Today I share with you this hearty, earthy, nutty and fragrant groundnut soup. The main ingredient which the soup takes it name from is groundnut paste. Please it is not the peanut butter paste used as spreads. The spreads are too sugary and don’t give a good authentic and traditional taste required for this soup. I recommend you make your own groundnut paste which is super easy to make. Alternatively, you can get a ready made one from a good Asian or African shop. To make your own, roast red skin peanuts, as described in the post here. Use a mill to grind the nuts into a smooth paste and that’s all you need to do for a good quality ground nut paste. Traditionally, Ghanaians prefer using tougher chicken meat for soups hen we go for broiler chicken. They are tastier and are able to withstand the long simmering process of the soup making without the meat melting or going too soft. You can however use normal chicken but you will need to reduce the cooking time or remove the chicken from the soup during the simmering process. Do try this soup and always always, I love to have your feedback and do share some photos too! Enjoy this hearty soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium size Broiler Chicken
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube Seasoning
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 2 Tsp Egye Aware Spice Blend (alternatively use a 1 tsp combination of thyme, Star Arnise,
  • Aniseed (nkitinkiti), Rosemary & Cloves)
  • 2 White Onions (Medium sizes)
  • 180g Fresh Ginger (about the length of the index finger)
  • 3 Gloves of Garlic
  • 1 Small Scotch Bonnet Pepper (or to your taste)
  • 3 Fresh Tomatoes on the vine (Medium sizes)
  • 8 Tbsp Groundnut Paste (not the spread)
  • Water – about 3 litres
  • Salt to taste
  • A couple of Basil leaves (akoko mesa)
  • A couple of coloured peppers like scotch bonnet and kpakposhito (Optional)

METHOD:

  1. Cut up chicken into medium sizes, clean with lemon juice. Rinse again and place in a soup cooking pot (a deep soup pot is recommended).
  2. Blend one onion, ½ of the ginger, chicken stock cube and 3 gloves of garlic together. Use a little bit of water to help with the blending.
  3. Add the spice blend, a teaspoon of salt, to the onion mixture stir and add to the chicken.
  4. Let the chicken marinate for some couple of hours, best left overnight in the refrigerator.
    When ready to cook, place the other onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet pepper on top of the chicken. Always allow refrigerated meat/chicken products to come to room temperature before cooking.
  5. Now place the pot on the hob on medium heat. Cover the pot and let the meat simmer in its own natural juices until nice and tender. You may not need to add extra, however, keep an eye on it to prevent burning. If the chicken is tough, add extra water if needed.
  6. When the tomatoes and onions are soft, remove, together with the ginger and pepper. Blend all together.
  7. Add the blended mixture to the soup, stir, rinse the blender with a bit of water and add to the pot. Cover and let it boil for about 15 minutes. Do this stage when the chicken is tender.
  8. Add the groundnut paste and stir.
  9. Add 2 litres of water to the soup and stir.
  10. Turn up the heat and let the soup boil. Do not cover the pot at this stage. As the soup boils, it will foam up and rise to the top. That is why you don’t cover it and you need a deep soup pot to prevent over spill. A cooking tip here to help de-foam is to stir!
  11. When the soup has simmered down, turn down the heat and half cover the pot. Let it continue to simmer. A layer of oil will begin to form on the top of the soup.
  12. Check the seasoning and add a bit of salt if needed. Usually the seasoning from the chicken will be enough, however, if this is not the case, add a bit of the spice blend to add more flavour if needed. Getting the salt to the right level brings out the flavour so do make sure the level of salt is right first.
  13. Three tips to check that the soup is cooked are: A) the soup simmers down, this is noticeable by the mark left from the original level of soup. B) A layer of oil is formed on the surface of the soup. C) The soup thickens and when taken off the heat and allowed to cool down, it doesn’t separate into a distinct layer of water and soup.
  14. When you tick the boxes for the above tips, then your soup is ready to be served. Add the basil leaves and let it boil for some couple of minutes. Add some coloured peppers like kpakposhito and scotch bonnet for more infused flavour.
  15. Skim off excess oil and serve soup hot with fufu, boiled rice, rice balls, boiled yams, boiled potatoes, boiled ripe plantains or bread or can be eaten on its own.

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