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05 Dec 2020
East African Sweet Pea Soup


  • 2 C coarsely chopped onion (about 3 medium onions)
  • safflower or other neutral oil for frying
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tomatoes, diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 sweet potato (approximately 2 C diced), diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 C pork stock (or some other intense flavorful stock, whatevs)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 lb frozen green peas


  1. Saute the onions in a splash of oil over medium heat in a medium pot, until they just turn translucent.

  2. Stir in the spices, salt, ginger, and garlic and saute for another minute or two, until very fragrant.

  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes and sweet potato until coated with spices, then immediately stir in the pork stock and water to dissolve the spices and deglaze the pot.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the sweet potato chunks are tender (about 20 minutes).

  5. Partially puree. I like lots of chunks, so I just use an immersion blender to puree just enough to thicken the soup some.

  6. Stir in the frozen peas and simmer just until everything is nice and hot again.

  7. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve.


Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant by the Moosewood Collective.

(I like to have extra meatiness and protein in my soups, so I use pork stock instead of water. Less liquid, too – I like my soups thick and hearty, not too watery – more like stews than soups, perhaps. I’m also opposed to puree soups, so I did a minimal immersion blender partial puree of this one before adding the peas, to retain some texture.)