The Proven Platter – Kenya, October 2020

This month we are visiting the cuisine of Kenya, an African country whose border touches both Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean. While researching foods common to the area, I came across pepper soup, which is served across Africa in many forms. It can be as basic as a broth or stock flavored with ground black pepper and served over stewed fish or chicken, or it can be a more flavorful soup made with a variety of peppers, both dried and fresh, with a combination of meat and fish.

Pepper soup is usually served with a large dumpling made of a different starch depending on the region of origin. The dumplings can be made of cassava flour (dumboy), corn/maize flour (ugali or posho), or a cassava and plantain/yam flour mixture (fufu).

No one drinks hot pepper soup in a hurry.

  • African proverb


Pepper Soup
2-4 Tb oil for sautéing
2 Tb minced garlic
2 lb. shrimp
2 lb. beef, cubed
1 c onion, medium dice
1 c each green, red, orange, and yellow pepper, large dice
1 scotch bonnet pepper, cut in half and seeds removed (caution: very hot!)
4 c chicken stock
2 c water
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 c okra, sliced

Sauté the shrimp in the garlic and oil in a large soup pot, flipping once after 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from the pot when it is cooked (it will turn pink) and put aside. Add the onion and beef to the pot and cook until browned. Add the peppers and sauté until soft.

Add the chicken stock, scotch bonnet pepper, bay leaves and spices and bring the soup to a boil. Simmer until beef is soft, about 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp, okra and 2 c water to the soup and simmer on high heat for another 10 minutes. Remove the scotch bonnet pepper. Let the soup simmer on low heat until it is ready to be served.

Serve the hot pepper soup over Dumboy.

6 c water
3 c cassava four

Bring water to a boil. Slowly pour the cassava flour into the boiling water and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. Cook for 3 -4 minutes while stirring continuously. When the mixture has thickened remove from heat, allow to cool, and mold the dough into balls.


Recipe and photo credit: Georgia Reader