Sopa de Mani: Bolivian Peanut and Potato Soup

Potato Soup
Andreas Korth/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ratings (19)

This nourishing and tasty yet economical soup hails from Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is a particular variation on Andean peanut and potato soup. Sopa de mani is typically made with beef ribs or chicken, but it works well as a vegetarian soup too. The ground, fresh peanuts, and yellow potatoes give the soup a thick and creamy texture and a light color (there's no dairy in this soup despite its milky hue); a bit of rice is often added as well.

Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to flavor the soup in addition to the basic savory ingredients of onions and garlic. Popular additions include celery, bell peppers, carrots, peas and even tomatoes. This soup is often served with a garnish of fried matchstick potatoes. Offer llajua, Bolivian hot pepper sauce, for those who like a bit of spice.

What You'll Need

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus more for frying potato sticks)
  • 3/4 pound beef short ribs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 cups beef stock (or water)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted peanuts
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 medium Yukon gold (or other yellow potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas (or frozen)
  • Garnish: 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (and/or cilantro)
  • Optional: hot pepper sauce (llajua)

How to Make It

  1. Finely mince the garlic and onions. Peel the carrots and cut them into small dice. Set aside.
  2. Place the vegetable oil in a large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add the beef ribs and sauté briefly until browned on all sides. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, cumin and oregano and continue to cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, place the peanuts in a blender or food processor and add 1 cup of water. Process peanuts until you have a thick, relatively smooth paste, adding more water if necessary. Add the peanut paste to the soup and stir well. Simmer soup for 1 hour or so, covered.
  1. Peel the potatoes, reserving 1 for later use. Cut the remaining 3 potatoes into small (1- to 2-inch) wedges and add them to the soup. Add some water or more stock to the soup if needed. Cover and simmer until potatoes are well cooked and falling apart. Mash the potatoes gently in the soup.
  2. Remove ribs from the soup and let cool on a plate. Remove meat from bones and add the meat back to the soup. Add the rice and simmer for 20 minutes more.
  3. Taste soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the peas and turn heat down to low.
  4. Cut the remaining potato into matchsticks. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a small pan and cook the potato sticks until golden brown. Remove, drain on paper towels, and season with salt.
  5. Serve soup in bowls, garnished with the matchstick fries and chopped parsley and cilantro. Offer hot sauce on the side.