Chickpea, Chili and Coriander Soup

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Chickpea, Chili and Coriander Soup

This spicy, blended chickpea soup from Delia Smith's gorgeous Vegetarian Collection is hearty enough to serve as a main dish in a meal along with vegetable and grain side dishes, but tastes light enough with the lemon and coriander accents to make a light summer meal as well. As usual, I've kicked the recipe up a gear with extra chili peppers, but even so the added heat won't deter anyone from this refreshing zesty soup.

Chickpea, Chili and Coriander SoupChickpea, Chili and Coriander Soup
Recipe by
From Delia's Vegetarian Collection
Cuisine: Indian
Published on August 28, 2007

Wonderfully fragrant, hearty, delicious and refreshingly zesty chickpea soup with fresh coriander

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  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 fresh green or red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • juice and zest from 1 large lemon
  • handful of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves separated, leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or plain whole-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 green or red chili, seeded and cut into very thin strips
  • chopped fresh coriander leaves (see above)
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are very tender.

  • toasted spices
    While the chickpeas are cooking, the rest of the ingredients can be measured, cut and prepared. Pre-heat a small frying pan over medium heat and toss in the coriander and cumin seeds. Dry-roast the seeds for 2 or 3 minutes, or until they become aromatic and begin to brown. Remove the seeds into a mortar and crush with a pestle.

  • Put the frying pan back on low heat and melt in the butter. Add the crushed spices along with the chillies and garlic, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, stir and heat for another minute before removing the pan from the heat. Set aside.

  • When the chickpeas are cooked, drain them in a colander placed over a large bowl to reserve the cooking liquid. Pour the chickpeas into a blender along with a couple of cups of the cooking liquid, and pureé until smooth. Add in the chilli, garlic and spice mixture from the frying pan along with the lemon zest and coriander stalks, then pureé again until everything is blended and smooth, adding a little more reserved cooking liquid if necessary.

  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir in the rest of the reserved cooking liquid. Bring everything up to a gentle simmer and let it heat gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if a thinner soup is desired.

  • Before serving, stir in half the crème fraîche or yogurt, as well as the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning, then serve hot with a spoonful of the rest of the crème fraîche or yogurt swirled into each bowl, and scatter with coriander leaves and fine strips of chili for garnish.

Makes 6 servings


Holler said...

I have this book, but haven't tried this yet! Look really tasty though! I will wait for a wet, rainy day!

Emmie said...

Oh, this soup looks lovely and it has some of my favourite things in it. Definitely saving this for future use!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What could I use instead of the cooking liquid, if I am using tinned chickpeas?

Lisa Turner said...

If you are using canned chickpeas, make sure you rinse them well. In place of the cooking liquid, you could use a bit of vegetable stock or water. If you are using vegetable stock, adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly.