What is sopa de mani?
Sopa de mani or soup with peanuts is one of Bolivia‘s most traditional soups. It is prepared with peas, potatoes, beef, roasted macaroni and spices such as oregano and cumin.
This soup is then sprinkled with chopped parsley and French fries to make a truly original soup. Sopa de mani is a much denser soup than Bolivian sopitas. It is also slightly spiced, making it a tasty, rich and very nourishing dish.
How to make sopa de mani
To prepare a good sopa of mani, it is important to peel the peanuts after soaking them in water. This step allows to obtain a very smooth and pleasant end result. Then you must prepare the vegetable garnish that is sautéed in hot oil, then add the meat cut into pieces and gradually add the ground peanut paste, the potatoes and finally the spices and water. The soup can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, then add the toasted macaroni halfway through cooking and a fresh note of chopped parsley and some fries on top. This soup can be prepared in advance and reheated. It is important to pay attention while cooking and regularly stir as it could slightly attach to bottom of the pan.
What is the origin of peanut?
It is believed that peanut comes from Bolivia, which explains the inventiveness of its people to accommodate this delicious dry nut. The hometown of sopa de mani is Cochabamba. Peanuts were already grown in South America when the conquistadors arrived. It was not until the 17th century that peanuts were finally imported into Europe. Jean de Léry, great traveler, writer and missionary French described this plant under the name of manoki. Portuguese ships then imported peanut to Africa in the sixteenth century and it was cultivated as early as 1560 in Senegambia. From there, it spread to Europe. Today, it is very much appreciated in Senegal and Gambia and has even become a staple of Senegalese cuisine.
What are the uses and benefits of peanuts?
Peanuts are usually eaten as a snack. They are used in many dishes such as Peruvian anticuchos that are composed of beef heart and peanut sauce, as well as chicken satay or many African dishes like mafé. It is used in many forms such as oil, butter, flour, purée or simply peeled and salted or in its original shell. Peanut oil is also used in combustible materials. Although some people have developed allergies to it, it has a number of benefits such as being an antioxidant. It also contains a lot of zinc, manganese, copper and vitamin B3. It is also good for gallbladder. However, people with cardiovascular or diabetes should not consume peanuts.
What are the variants of sopa de mani?
There are many versions in or sopa de mani, even though the standard principles are the same. Macaroni can sometimes be replaced by rice. Chicken can be substituted for beef. This recipe can also be prepared vegetarian without meat. The French fries are optional and can be replaced by sweet potato fries as well as grilled pieces of bread rubbed with garlic.
Other soups such as chaira, sopa de fideo, as well as fish or vegetables soups are very popular with Bolivians. In Africa, you will find similar peanut soups, including one in Uganda, as well as a Senegalese soup with sweet potatoes and peanuts.
This recipe is validated by our Bolivian culinary expert, Lizet Flores de Bowen. You can find Lizet on her bilingual food blog Chipa by the Dozen.
- 3 lb beef with bone (neck or rib), cut into pieces
- 4 oz. raw peanuts
- 1 white onion , peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot , diced
- 3 oz. peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 stalk celery , finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper , diced
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic , chopped
- 6 cups beef broth (or vegetable broth)
- 4 potatoes , cut into large cubes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ lb macaroni pasta
- 1 small bunch flat parsley , chopped
- Black pepper
Toast the macaroni in a dry pan, stirring constantly over medium heat until golden brown (about 8 minutes). Set aside.
Soak the peanuts in hot water for 2 minutes so that they can be peeled easily. Drain them.
In the bowl of a blender, mix the peanuts and a cup of cold water until you obtain a paste. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic.
Add the onion, carrot, peas, and celery.
Sauté over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the meat, red bell pepper and broth and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the blended peanuts and stir well.
Add the potatoes. Add salt, black pepper, cumin and oregano. Mix well.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Add the toasted macaroni.
Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley at time of serving.