Roasting Groundnuts With Sand

30 Nov

When I was last here, I wrote a post all about how Lamin roasted groundnuts the natural way. The groundnuts do taste delicious cooked that way, but all that soot does leave your hands looking a bit of a mess. However, now Dodou has solved the problem!

A few days ago, Dodou decided he wanted to roast some groundnuts. Lamin’s mother has grown them during the rainy season, and she kindly gave us a large sackful, so we’ve been slowly working our way through them. Of course, you can eat groundnuts raw, but on the whole, we prefer them cooked and although they taste OK when they’re boiled, roasted is definitely my favourite!

So Dodou collected what he needed: Some sticks, a few large stones, a pan, some sand, and the groundnuts. He kindly agreed I could take photos as he went along, so here’s how to roast groundnuts in a different way.

First, Dodou arranged the stones in a ring, so that he could sit the pot on top of the fire – three stones is the traditional way most people cook over a fire. He then arranged some sticks underneath – I’ve realised that people use several sticks so that you can add or remove sticks to increase or decrease the heat (a bit like turning the oven up or down!).


He found some dried palm leaves for kindling and lit the fire, blowing on it gently until the fire caught. He used a plastic lid to fan the flames vigorously until the fire was well alight.


Then he filled the pan with sand, and set it over the fire so the sand could heat up. Every now and then he tested it by sticking his finger in (he’s braver than me!).


When he judged the sand was hot enough, he tipped the groundnuts in and stirred everything round with a wooden paddle, rather like stirring porridge.


Again, we had to wait while the nuts roasted. Dodou continued his efforts to keep the fire fanned, despite the smoke!


Meanwhile, one of the local children was giving Saffie’s little boy a ride on the crossbar of his bike. I must admit, I do find some of their ways a bit hair-raising –health and safety doesn’t really feature much here! But they were having a great time!


Finally, Dodou tested a groundnut and decided they were roasted enough, so he took the pan off the fire and let it cool slightly.


He tipped the sand and nuts into a large metal sieve and shook the hot sand through.


We did have to wait for the groundnuts to cool – an exercise in patience! But I have to say, they were worth the wait!


Of course, it’s not as easy as nipping down to the corner shop for a bag of peanuts, but then nothing is that easy here! So people accept that some things take effort, and I can certainly vouch for the fact that Dodou’s effort was totally worth it. The ground nuts were all gone very quickly, and no messy fingers either!


4 Responses to “Roasting Groundnuts With Sand”

  1. Mike November 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

    very interesting story with some very nice photographs!

  2. Esseltee November 30, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

    Looks like Lamin & Dodou have the same problem solving skills! Xx

    • Elizabeth Manneh November 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

      Absolutely! But then most Gambians have great problem-solving skills – it’s a way of life here!

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