indian chickpea soup (and my best vegetable stock)

personally, i love the comfy weather. because it means one thing: it’s soup season again! as a kind, i only liked soup with really chunky bits in them. and though i love all kinds of soups nowadays, i still clearly favor the ones with a few solids in it. like this chickpea soup. it’s based on my best, fragrant vegetable broth.

honestly, it’s simply like that: you can’t always make your broth from scratch on a usual weekday’s night. and i confess: i may use the odd ‘bouillon’ from telofix or rapunzel quite a lot. but actually (apart from the tiring chopping) it’s quite quickly made – and it can be done simultaneously, while starting with the actual soup. i make my vegetable broth entirely with vegetables. it’s a bit sad that you have to ‘throw away’ all the veggies you use for the broth. but i see it like that: the veggies have left all their vitamins, fragrance and the good stuff in the broth, so it’s only fair to discard them afterwards.

indian chickpea soup (and my best vegetable stock)
for the vegetable stock:
1 celery root
2 carrots
2 onions
1 parsnip
1 large celery stalk
1 leek
1 bunch of flat parsley and other herbs, like basil, marjoram, thyme, lovage
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 handful dried or fresh mushrooms (i usually take a few white champignons and a few dried shiitakes)
1 tsp. black pepper corns
2 tbsp. olive oil

wash all the vegetables. i can’t be bothered with peeling, so i simply chop everything up (the smaller, the better, the pieces release their fragrance and vitamins to the broth better). heat the olive oil, and gradually add the chopped vegetables. start with the harder ones first: celery root, carrots, and parsnip. sweat for a minute or so. then add the celery stalk, onion and garlic, and stir-fry some more. the roasting will give it a nutty taste. add about 2 liters of water. complete with mushrooms, parsley (or other herbs) pepper corns and salt, if you like it that way (i usually salt it lightly, not too much). cook the broth with the lid closed for at least half an hour or more (if you have the time; otherwise 30 minutes will do). drain the vegetable chunks. now you can use this stock as a basis for every imaginable soup or for sauces etc. if you don’t use it immediately, store it in the fridge for up to a week.

for the soup:
1 large can chickpeas, drained and washed
2-3 potatoes, skin on, chopped
1/2 celery root, chopped
1/2 leek, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small piece peperoncino, minced
1 tsp. ground black cumin
1 tsp. curcuma (to provide for the yellow color)
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ras el hanout
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 drop harissa or sriraccha hot sauce
1 handful flat parsley, chopped
vegetable stock or bouilon and water
3 tbsp. olive oil

heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. sweat the potatoes, celery root, onion, leek, garlic and peperoncino for 2-3 minutes, until slightly charred and browned. add the spices: cumin, curcuma, garam masala, ras el hanout and chili flakes, and sweat for another half minute or so. if you have a fresh stock at hand (see above) add it now. you might need some more salt with home-made stock (if it’s not salty) and / or water. if you do not have a fresh stock, add water and dry vegetable bouillon (according to instructions). add the chickpeas and spice with more salt (if needed) and harissa. simmer for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

the soup should have a slightly indian, arab touch to it. if it’s not intense enough, add some more cumin. if it’s not yellow enough, add some more curcuma. you could also add some coconut milk at this point, if you want the soup to be more rich. sprinkle with flat parsley, serve steaming hot (we accompanied it with a lovely indian, garlicky flat-bread, of which i didn’t get to take a picture, because it was gone so quickly…).

of course, if the soup turns out to stewy-thick, add more water. if it turns out too water, well… then it’s too watery. but no harm done, as long as it’s nicely spiced.

love and soup.

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