The Unexpected Ingredient To Flavor And Thicken Your Homemade Soup

If you're the type of cook who is constantly looking to thicken up your soups and stews, you're probably familiar with ingredients like cornstarch or tapioca starch. But there's another way to enrich the texture and flavor of your homemade stews with a little help from peanut butter powder. 

This powdered version of your favorite sandwich spread has many ingenious uses. According to U.S. News, it's an ingredient many nutritionists recommend for stews and soups as a protein booster with divine flavor. The nutritionist in question, Sherry Coleman Collins, president of Southern Fried Nutrition Services, claims they prefer peanut butter powder over the regular, spreadable kind because it incorporates into dishes with more ease. 

The gluey nature of peanut butter can make it difficult to stir in, while powdered peanut butter will simply melt in. Collins states that the added bonus is that it packs fewer calories than your spoonful of peanut butter without sacrificing that protein.     

Peanut butter powder is your new secret weapon

So what recipes can you begin with? A great place to start is with traditional peanut stews often found in African, Middle Eastern, Thai, and Indian cuisine. Take a classic African peanut stew, which makes use of ground peanuts, meat, tomatoes, and chiles. Instead of using peanut butter or ground peanuts, consider subbing in peanut butter powder. If subbing for the peanut butter, keep this ratio in mind: 4 tablespoons of peanut butter powder plus 1 tablespoon of water will create the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. 

If you plan on going a less traditional route, say adding the peanut butter powder to thicken up a lentil stew or meaty chili, consider starting with adding a few tablespoons at a time. It should help you attain a nice silkiness to the texture of your soup — just be sure to taste as you go to ensure that the nutty balance doesn't conflict with the other ingredients. Try to pair it with complementary flavors, like coconut milk-based soups or high-heat chili-infused stews, for the best results. 

One important thing to keep in mind when adding powdered peanut butter to your soup: Beware of peanut allergies. This ingredient addition can trigger an allergic reaction for those with an aversion to peanuts, so make sure to double check before serving your customized soup to guests.