On a recent trip to Curacao I had the good fortune to taste Chef Taco’s African Peanut Soup on two occasions. The first was at the local restaurant, Trio Penotti, on the west side of the island. It is an unassuming place, typical for a local’s country place in that it had open-air seating in a rustic outside pavilion. It looked like a southern roadhouse only open-sided. We sat at picnic tables set on a gravel base and had an unbelievably good meal. The second time was a lunch stop at the new Cactus Café. That place was more like a concession stand, with the same type of seating and food, which the Trio Penotti staff had just taken over. We were lucky to stumble upon that in our beach-hopping exploration of western Curacao!

I’d never had peanut soup before visiting Curacao, even though it is a familiar, mostly Southern dish here in the States, so this was a revelation. I was still waxing rhapsodic about the peanut soup at Trio Penotti the evening before when I saw it on the lunch menu and had to have it again. What an amazing flavor!

Richard Frisbie with Chef Taco at the Cactus Cafe, Curacao
Richard Frisbie with Chef Taco at the Cactus Cafe

I raved about it so much that Chef Taco came out and gave me his recipe. He’s a great guy and the recipe is unlike others I researched since I came home. First, Chef Taco’s (his real name) version is vegan – no chicken or stock, no cream and no butter. And still he created a rich, creamy and flavorful soup! I dunked a good crusty chunk of bread in my lunch serving and happily settled for just a bowl of soup as my meal.

When I recreated this soup at home I guessed at the seasonings because Chef Taco’s recipe did not include measurements for them. He said “an experienced cook will know how to balance the flavors to suit their palate.” I balanced mine to replicate his original taste, but you can go all over the spectrum with your own version.

Richard Frisbie's version of peanut soup at home
My version of peanut soup at home

Anything in parentheses () is my addition. (Serves four – six as a meal, or eight – ten as a soup course.)

1 yellow pepper

1 onion

1 carrot

3 garlic cloves

½ chili pepper

Chop and sauté above over medium heat in 2 TBS sunflower oil until vegetables are soft. Season with: (1tsp) cinnamon, (1 tsp) cumin, (1 tsp) cardamom, (1/4 tsp) nutmeg, (1/2 tsp) salt, (hot sauce to taste) until spices are fragrant

Add 4-5 oz tomato puree to veggies and stir in 2 quarts water.

Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to combine until smooth.

Stir in 20 oz peanut butter, (I used all natural, no salt, smooth) reheat.

Adjust flavor with (1 TBS) lemon juice, salt and sugar.

Pour hot over fine cut leeks and sliced banana (I used half a banana for each bowl and one green onion)

This is a filling and very tasty vegan soup that easily reheats for another meal. And, if you use half the water you’ll have a delicious peanut sauce for stir-fry, ribs or bbq chicken!

Cactus Café menu
Cactus Café menu – exchange rate 1 guilder = $1.80 US

The other dishes at Trio Penotti are definitely worth a taste as well. I had their goat stew, which was savory and delicious. The traditional funchi (like polenta) and almost cole slaw sides went perfectly with it. While I was there I shared my no-stir polenta recipe with a local because they eat a lot of what our waitress described as corn meal when I asked what funchi was. It will save them almost an hour of stirring every time!

Trio Penotti – Closed Monday, reservations suggested.

Trio Penotti https://www.facebook.com/triopenotticuracao/

Curacao Tourism https://www.curacao.com/en/

Oasis Coral Estate Beach, Dive and Wellness Resort https://www.oasisparcs.com

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2 Comments

  1. Michal W

    November 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Bless you for grabbing the peanut soup recipe for the chef. Had it twice yesterday at Cactus Cafe and still can’t get it out of my mind!

    Reply

    • Taco

      December 3, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      To Michael W…

      have fun

      Peanut Soup

      150 gr. Carrots (Wortel/Karotten)
      150 gr. Onion (Uien/Zwiebeln)
      150 gr. Yellow Pepper (gele Paprika/gelbe Paprika)
      50 gr. Ginger (Gember/Ingwer)
      1 pc. Hot Pepper (hete peper/Chilischote)

      Dice it all up and put into pot. Add sunflower oil, ground Cumin, ground Cinnamon, Garlic powder, Sereh, a little ground Cloves and salt.

      Alles snijden en in een pot. Zonnebloem olie, gemalen Komijn, Kaneel, Knoflookpoeder, Sereh en een beetje gemalen Kruidnagel en zout erbij.

      Alles schneiden und in Topf geben. Sonnenblumenoel, gemahlener Kuemmel, Zimt, Knoblauchpulver, gemahlenes Zitronengras, ein wenig gemahlene Gewuerznelke und Salz dazu geben.

      Let it fry over medium heat about 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon keep it moving. Add 150 gr. Tomato puree and simmer for 3 minutes more.

      Fruiten over middelmatige hitte voor 5 minuten. Met houten lepel constant in beweging houden. 150 gr. Tomatenpuree erbij en 3 minuten mee sudderen.

      Anschwitzen ueber mittlere Hitze fuer 5 Minuten. Mit Holzloeffel staendig ruehren. 150 gr. Tomatenpueree dazu und 3 Minuten mitkoecheln lassen.

      Add 1.5 liter water and bring to a boil. When the veggies are soft, use a handheld blender to puree all of it.

      Doe 1.5 liter water erbij en koken tot de groenten zacht zijn. Met staafmixer pureren.
      1.5 Liter Wasser dazu und kochen lassen bis Gemuese weich ist. Mit Stabmixer puerieren.
      Add 500 gr. Peanut butter. Bring to taste with lemon juice, sugar and salt. Serve hot over cut banana and chopped leek.

      Doe 500 gr. Pindakaas erbij. Op smaak brengen met citroensap, suiker en zout. Heet serveren over gesneden banaan en gesnipperde prei.

      500 gr. Erdnussbutter dazu. Abschmecken mit Zitronensaft, Zucker und Salz. Heiss ueber geschnittene Banane und gehacktem Lauch servieren.

      Enjoy! Eet smakelijk! Guten Appetit!!

      Reply

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