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The difference between a stew and a soup

Food By Audrey Masitsa

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When looking for a recipe or picking out a dish from a menu, it can be confusing knowing what is what. 

Many times I’ve tried to explain that I want a stew and ended up getting a soup. These two dishes are inherently different once presented on a plate. Let’s look at what makes them different.


A stew is made when vegetables or meat are left to cook in liquid until the food is cooked and the stew thickened. 

Stews are typically made with larger chunks of meat or vegetables. The liquid used in cooking can be a broth or stock. You can also use richer liquids like wine or beer. Tomato juice would also be sufficient.

Stews are have thicker liquid (Photo: Shutterstock)

To make a stew, ensure that the food is just covered by the liquid and not completely submerged in it.

Stews are served as a main meal and can be accompanied with rice, chapati, ugali or mashed potatoes.

ALSO READ: Caramelised pork recipe

Soups can be thick like pumpkin soup (Photo: Shutterstock)


Unlike stews, soups are typically watery, to put it bluntly. They can be thin, like a simple onion soup or thick like a pumpkin soup.

While stews should simmer, soups have to boil to allow the ingredients to combine well. 

Soups can be made with meat, vegetables and lentils (Photo: Shutterstock)

Soups can be made with meat, vegetables and lentils. Use water, broth or stock as the cooking liquid. Ensure that the food is completely submerged in the liquid and leave to boil.

Soups are typically eaten from a bowl or mug with a spoon. They are served as a first course and can be accompanied with bread.?

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