If you have ever tasted an African pepper soup, you might be wondering what gives it its unique and earthy flavor. I’m going to show you how to make pepper soup spice from scratch using the traditional ethnic spices, and also how to make it using everyday spices from your local grocery store.
African pepper soup dishes are made with a blend of complex and unique spices. These spices are commonly found in the West African region and used in a variety of ethnic soups, like this goat meat pepper soup.
Traditional spices used in making African pepper soup spice
Alligator pepper: also known as Grains of Paradise, Guinea pepper, and Melegueta pepper. In Nigeria, this spice is known as Atare, Atariko or Ulima seeds.
Alligator pepper has a nutty, woody flavor with a hint of citrus. It has a nice peppery taste without any harsh after-burn.
It also makes a great substitute for black pepper for those that don’t like the taste or are allergic to it.
Selim pepper: also known as Grains of Selim, Ethiopian pepper, Senegal pepper, Negro pepper, Kani pepper or Uda seed. This pepper has a musky flavor of smoked herbs with a hint of bitter cocoa. It is similar in flavor to peppercorns.
Calabash nutmeg: also known as Jamaican nutmeg, African nutmeg, and Muscadier de Calabash. In Nigeria, it is known as Ehuru, Ariwo or Ehiri, depending on what tribe you’re from.
This spice is very similar to nutmeg and is grown in West Africa and also in the Caribbean islands.
How to make pepper soup spices from scratch using traditional African spices.
Roast the calabash nutmeg in a dry pan for about two minutes.
Make sure they are well mixed together and store in an airtight container.
This makes 3 tablespoons of the pepper soup mix and each serving has 0 net carbs and 0 calories.
You can get all these spices from amazon or an African store and mix yourself or just buy a pre-packaged pepper soup spice mix. I have done both and I honestly can’t tell the difference as they both turned out really good.
How to make pepper soup spice using spices commonly found in the grocery store
It can be quite hard to get the native pepper soup spices if you don’t live in Africa. I like to order from Amazon sometimes but the items frequently go out of stock.
So I began to experiment with different household spices to see if I could come up with something relatively close.
After a few hours of mixing, smelling, tasting and shoving my spice blend under my husband’s nose for his approval, I eventually came up with a mix that mimics the taste of the traditional blend.
Allspice has a woody flavor that resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. So if you don’t have allspice on hand, you can recreate it using half a teaspoon each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
To prepare the pepper soup spice:
Grind the peppercorn and fennel seeds to a fine powder using a spice blender.
Mix all the spices together and store them in an airtight container. This produces about 3 tablespoons of the pepper soup mix.
One serving is roughly 1 - 1.5 tablespoons, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be. As you can see, both spices are quite similar though not quite the same. But if you can't get the traditional spices, this option will work perfectly as it tastes really close to the original.
What can I use pepper soup spice for?
Check out these African pepper soup recipes!
Pepper Soup Spices
Ingredients to make pepper soup spice (using traditional African spices)
How to make pepper soup spices using traditional African spices
- Roast the calabash nutmeg in a dry pan for about two minutes.
- Remove the outer skin and take out the seed inside.
- Grind the calabash nutmeg, selim pepper, and alligator pepper together to a fine powder.
- Store in an airtight container.
How to make pepper soup spices using common spices
- Grind the peppercorn and fennel seeds to a fine powder using a spice blender.
- Mix with the other spices together and store in an airtight container.
- This produces about 3 tablespoons of the pepper soup mix. One serving is roughly 1 - 1.5 tablespoons, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
- The recipe card shows the nutrition info for the pepper soup spice made from spices found in the grocery store.
- The traditional pepper soup spice contains 0 calories and 0 carbs.