Monday, 7 May 2012

Moroccon Chickpea Soup

“There is nothing like a plate or a bowl of hot soup, it's wisp of aromatic steam making the nostrils quiver with anticipation, to dispel the depressing effects of a grueling day at the office or the shop, rain or snow in the streets, or bad news in the papers.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)
This quote encapsulates all that is great about a bowl of soup. Warming, soul food that brings joy and comfort. What's even better is that more often than not, soup is the product of the act of throwing a bunch of readily available ingredients into a big pot, which is topped up with ladles of good stock, seasoned and finally served with a big chunk of buttered crusty bread. One of life’s simple pleasures.

This Moroccan Chickpea Soup relies on the array of Asian + Middle Eastern flavours; namely cumin, harissa paste, coriander and lemon which creates an incredibly aromatic, spicy yet fresh soup. Like any dish with spice, the flavours develop tremendously over time. And so if you do manage to save some soup for the following days, just be prepared to have your taste buds blown away by the depth of flavour of the soup!

The chickpeas and butter beans gives the soup more texture and in fact makes it quite a substantial meal. However if you’re not too keen on the idea of having a vegetarian soup, fry up some bacon/sausages/chicken pieces or even lamb with the onions and carry on the cooking process as described.

On another note, I can finally say that I own copies of Julia Child’s infamous books – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to take the plunge and purchase these books; it’s a shame I waited this long because the amount of information held in each page is astounding!

Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Serves 4

Adapted from BBC Good Food


1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tbsp harissa paste
600 ml hot vegetable stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chickpeas
100g butter beans
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions, garlic and celery gently for 10 minutes until softened, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the cumin and harissa paste and stir.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, chickpeas. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  4. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add the butter beans and lemon juice and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Spoon into bowls and  top with chopped coriander and a sprinkling of lemon zest.


  1. This is my kind of soup and that look so tempting. Just that I will add to add a dash of paprika or Mexican chilly flakes inside for we love more spicy taste.

  2. The soup look red n spicy.....
    Should b very interesting hot......

  3. I have never seen a soup that had both butter beans and chickpeas! Unique and definitely worth a try. That sauce looks so vibrant and delicious-wish I had already eaten this yesterday. Delicious post!

  4. Yum, so many great flavors in this soup!

  5. That's nice flavored soup and loving the gorgeous red it got!

  6. Now this is my kind of comforting soup! Looks so appetizing with amazing flavors & not forgetting HOT! Love it! :)

  7. beautiful! and the flavor combo sounds amazing! I have yet to add those books to my collection, one day!

  8. Lovely photos! I like the quote you included about soup; it is so true. And congrats on owning the Julia Child books! They are still on my wish list.

  9. This soup and everything look so beautiful in your blog!

    Heard a lot about Julia Child too and love to learn French cooking from these books too... I would to be a follower of your blog and hope to learn lots of cooking and baking from you in the future :D

  10. Gorgeous recipe. Looks like Chana Masala. I haven't yet purchased Julia Child's book mainly because I don't eat beef and all, but it seems like her book is quite informational.

  11. Beautiful pictures Nish- I like the combination of chick peas and butter beans- I've never worked with harissa, but I might when I make this :) Those books are on my wish list these day too- don't know what I'm waiting for either.

  12. Seriously, I was about to write Bon Appetit to see if they could get the recipe for El Meson's chickpea stew and here you are with something that sounds almost identical. I saved this recipe for fall but I think it might be a ringer! :)

  13. The celery was a little too firm for my taste, but the flavor was fantastic. I can't wait to see how it tastes tomorrow. I served it on top of some leftover basmati rice...

  14. This soup was every bit as delicious as it looks in the photos. I've taken it out to share with friends a few times now and always get asked for the recipe - thanks!