The Groundnut: Bringing the Flavours of Africa to the Kitchens of London
African cuisine, despite its huge diversity and vibrant flavours, is rarely celebrated or even widely available in the West. Until now. Folayemi Brown, Duval Timothy and Jacob Fodio are three friends who are changing the way we think about African food. With a mission to bring African food to new Western audiences, the trio launched The Groundnut in 2011: a pop-up restaurant inspired by one of their favourite dishes - groundnut stew. The dinners are held in South London and are influenced by the chefs' African and European heritages. Guests can expect a set menu created specially for each dinner. Think jollof rice, plantain crisps and the famous groundnut stew. The Groundnut boys have also released a new cookbook, making traditional African dishes and traditions easy for chefs and novices alike (we love the yellow tomato soup!).
We caught up with The Groundnut to find out more about the inspiration behind their cooking, some of their kitchen staples and their favourite way of having baobab and moringa:
1. Tell us about Groundnut and the idea behind your pop-up dinners…
The main thing about our dinners is bringing people together. Cooking food is a great way to share a moment with friends and family, and the Groundnut dinners are really just an extension of those occasions.
2. The flavours of your dishes range from East to West Africa. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Folayemi: Inspiration comes from the dishes that we grew up eating, which have roots across different African countries. My parents are Nigerian so I ate a lot of the more traditional dishes growing up like eba and okro soup, or Jollof rice. Jollof rice is one of the dishes that is popular across the whole of West Africa so Duval also enjoyed it growing up.
Duval: Yeah, my grandma cooked a great Jollof and it was always a big family occasion heading over to hers for a meal. She also introduced me to a lot of classic Sierra Leonean dishes like Ginger beer with lots of cloves and spices, and the Groundnut stew, which kindly lent us it’s name.
Jacob: I grew up across south-eastern Africa in Mozambique, Tanzania and Swaziland and I’ve shared some dishes that conjur memories from those times. One of my favourite stories is about a dish called chicken amemdoims, which is a sort of distant cousin of the groundnut stew. I hadn’t eaten it for years until Duval’s brother made it for a dinner party and brought it back into my life!
3. Have you noticed an increase in the popularity of African food in the last few years?
People are certainly very curious about the food that we make. We like to think that our dinners and Groundnut Cookbook are generating more discussion around the foods of sub-Saharan Africa.
4. What are your 5 kitchen staples?
Plantain, ginger, groundnuts, onions, and scotch bonnet peppers. I don’t think the Groundnut could function without any of those!
5. What are your favourite ways to have baobab and moringa?
A teaspoon of moringa in the Green Soup recipe from our book is great for some extra goodness, while the baobab is perfect for drinks like a sweet hibiscus iced tea.
The Groundnut Cookbook
You can find out more about The Groundnut book or their upcoming supper clubs (be quick - they're selling out fast!) on their website.
We are giving three lucky Aduna Feel Good Tribers the chance to win a copy of The Groundnut cookbook - the ultimate recipe book for effortless African cuisine.
Competition closes midnight on 18/11/15. See here for full terms & conditions.