I feel like I’m constantly bypassing the simple recipes in cookbooks in favor of flashier dishes that promise an explosion of flavor or lots of contrasting colors or textures that will photograph well. It’s usually only in the 11th hour that, in a moment of panic at not having enough posts for the upcoming week, I do a quick scan of the short and simple recipes to see what can be made with ingredients I have on hand.
And that’s exactly how I came to make this simple chickpea soup. Hooray for poor planning but a relatively well stocked fridge and pantry!
Although this vegan and gluten-free soup has a relatively short ingredient list, it certainly isn’t short on taste. Chickpeas are simmered with fragrant ginger and lemongrass and then combined with a turmeric shallot mixture. But it’s the toppings that really make this soup something special. Crispy golden shallots add umami, chopped cilantro adds a pop of freshness and a squeeze of lime gives it a slightly sour edge.
Short on time? Just adapt the recipe to use pre-cooked chickpeas in lieu of the dried variety. If you’ve got a couple cans of garbanzo beans in the pantry this soup definitely becomes a viable weeknight option.
Fragrant Chickpea Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger
Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
* 1 cup chickpeas
* 5 cups water
* 1 stalk lemongrass, woody ends trimmed, and bruised
* 2 thin slices fresh ginger
* 2 Tablespoons oil
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
* 1/4 cup golden crispy shallots
* 1 lime, cut into wedges
Combine the chickpeas and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, set the lid slightly askew, and simmer until the chickpeas have softened.
Use a slotted spoon to remove approximately half of the chickpeas and set them aside in a small bowl. Use an immersion blender to pulse the chickpeas remaining in the saucepan until the chickpeas are slightly mashed. Return the whole chickpeas to the saucepan and add the lemongrass, ginger, and additional water, if necessary to make approximately 5-6 cups of soup. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots have softened. Add the shallot mixture to the soup along with the salt and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Ladle into individual bowls and top with plenty of cilantro and crispy golden shallots. If desired, top with a squeeze of lime.
Adapted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid