Today, my househelp Camilla and I spent the morning at the market getting fruits and vegetables, and then Camilla very obligingly showed me how to properly prepare two traditional dishes, one of which was groundnut soup. Other than fufu and njamma jamma, this is the most Cameroonian meal I can think of. It's well-balanced, nutritious, and could be creatively presented with a sprig of herb or a few peanuts sprinkled on top. Looking for a quick dinner? Skip the meat—the peanuts provide enough protein on their own.

Groundnut soup

1/2 pound beef, cut in one-inch cubes
1 onion
3 tomatoes
1 sprig fresh parsley
2 small stalks celery
1 sprig fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened peanut butter
1 Maggie cube (or soy sauce to taste)
salt to taste
4-5 cups cooked rice

Put the beef in a medium pot. Cover and cook on low heat until the fat has simmered down. Add about 4 cups water and continue cooking until the meat is tender. Remove from the pot, reserving the liquid.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the onion, tomatoes, parsley, celery, basil, and garlic. Liquefy them in a blender, then add them to the pot. Cook until the liquid is mostly gone, then add the peanut butter, Maggie, and salt. Stir, then add the beef again.

Serve the soup over a bed of rice, with a few pieces of meat on the top. Serves 8.

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