Today we travel to the small West African Nation of Togo. Here is my version of Togolese Palm Nut Soup. You may have to visit an Afro-Caribbean food store for the Palm Nut Concentrate but it’s worth it for this new taste. There happens to be a great one in Ottawa called Mugena that has a lot of interesting products. This soup is very spicy with the amount of cayenne i used so you may want to use less if you are not a fan of the heat!
- 1 cup of Palm Nut Concentrate
- 1 lb of stewing beef cut in small cubes. I recommend grass fed or organic as it is much more tender
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped eggplant
- 1 grated onion, and 1 chopped onion
- 1 green pepper cut into Julienne strips
- 1 chopped tomato
- 3 chopped cloves of garlic
- 3 cups of water
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or 1 chopped chile pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of ginger and grated onion. Cook on medium high heat until the onion becomes more translucent. Add the beef cut in bite sized pieces, pepper lightly, and mix with onion mixture and cook until beef is lightly browned. In Togo the onion mixture is known as N’toutou and is very common in Togolese cooking
- While the beef is cooking you can start heating the soup mixture. In a large pot heat 1 cup of palm nut concentrate, 3 cups of water, the eggplant, chopped onion, tomato, green pepper, the beef bouillon cubes and all of the spices except the ginger. Extra ginger probably wouldn’t hurt either though. Salt to your taste, I used about 1 teaspoon and a little extra sprinkle at the end. Bring the mixture to a boil for several minutes stirring to mix the ingredients well then reduce heat to medium low cooking for about 10 minutes.
- Add the beef mixture and stir well. Simmer cooking slowly for about 30 minutes
- Serve with rice or other traditional African accompaniments
Here are some other links about Togo for additional reading