Peanut butter has been a personal favourite even when I struggled understanding which was appropriate and why people alternated by either calling its primary source “groundnut or peanut.” This common phenomenon can be usually noticed if you grew up in Nigeria. In this part of the world, you can’t go to the market and expect a groundnut seller to understand you when you say peanut especially when the seller has called it groundnut all their life.
I can’t write off the fact that many have begun to embrace new ideas and by saying that I mean even the market sellers understand when you call it groundnut or peanut.
One beauty that lies in the consumption of peanut butter that many can relate to is smearing it on bread as a substitute for regular butter. Jam, Mayonnaise, and Chocolate Nutella later came into the picture as people started seeing the need to have more substitutes. Marcellus Gilmore Edson is credited for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts into a paste. He was said to have patented peanut butter paste in 1884. It is noteworthy that groundnut paste what many call peanut butter has been in existence in African cooking before even colonial encounters.
The peanut butter itself can be divided into majorly two types the creamy smooth type and roughly processed crunchy type. There are so many you’ll find in the market today infused with ingredients like honey, chocolate, almonds, peppers, and spices. However, even when peanut butter isn’t readily available, roasted peanut which is the source of peanut butter is snacked on with bread, roasted plantain, drank with garri, etc. The list of what and how it can be paired and altered is endless but asides from using peanut butter as spread what else can it be used for? This article will explain in detail.
- Make into a stew, soup, or sauce
This use I consider the easiest and most effective way to use the peanut butter or paste. The soup could be in a light or thick form a very common one is the groundnut or peanut soup made using the peanut butter paste. The soup cut across different African countries as a replica of the groundnut soup can be found in Nigerian, Malian, and Ghanaian cuisine just to mention a few.
- Combine with a biscuit or cookie dough
The chewy tendencies of peanut butter make it possible to infuse in savoury and sweet treats. It is an extremely exceptional ingredient in cookie dough and biscuits. If chocolate can be added to cookie dough and biscuits why not peanut butter paste.
- Use as a dip
Peanut butter can be used as a dip for garden eggs or even sliced paw paw, carrot, and cucumber. When I was a lot younger daddy would occasionally travel to the southeastern part of Nigeria and he came back with lots of spicy peanut butter in small packages he also came back with garden eggs. When I travel with siblings for the festive season I see people sell the packaged peanut butter paste on the Benin-Ore expressway and I’ve seen similar things in other areas of the country. My dad bringing this home was my first experience knowing it could be paired with fruits and vegetables.
- Add to Smoothie
January is the detox month also the month we get to celebrate peanut butter. Smoothies are power-packed food that quickly fills one’s belly. Most smoothie recipes will require a combination of yoghurt, milk, leafy greens, and fruits. While some require the inclusion of seeds and nuts. The peanut butter paste is great in smoothies as it has good health properties, is vegan friendly, and is inexpensive.
- Add to Salad
Salad dressing doesn’t have to be limited to a vinaigrette or mayo dressing. Peanut butter paste can be used instead as the base of the salad dressing. If before now groundnut/peanut can be crushed and sprinkled on a Salad. The peanut butter can also serve the purpose of your everyday salad dressing.
The use of the peanut butter paste is ubiquitous its relevance in modern cooking is yet to be fully explored. For a very long time I shared in the school of thought that it could only be used effectively when made into soups and sauces.
But, as I write this I believe every ingredient can be used in creating not just meals but meals worthy of being called masterpieces.