Coconut-Ginger Chickpea Soup
If you love canned chickpeas, you’ll find cooking them from scratch a revelation. A freshly cooked chickpea has a wonderfully tender, creamy texture. The flavor is different too, more robust and nutty — and more neutral. Make the bean yourself, and you’re in charge of the salt and spice. Plus, the water you cook them in makes a terrific broth.
In this recipe, we’ve put all those good qualities to work. The chickpeas and lentils simmer in the chickpeas’ soaking water plus garlic, ginger, curry powder, and coconut milk. As the lentils soften and split, they create a thick, spicy coconut curry soup. It’s like a chunky dal, bobbing with tender chickpeas. We love the dimension the condiments and garnishes add. A golden swirl of hot mustard-turmeric oil, a dollop of punchy, sweet cilantro-raisin chutney, a sliver or two of chile, a coconut flake, and this simple soup suddenly looks much more sophisticated — and it tastes well-nigh irresistible.
Make coconut-ginger chickpea soup on a Saturday, when you’ve got time to hang out in the kitchen — and VIPs coming to dinner. It’ll make a very impressive, very warming first course or main. We’d serve it with a pile of hot, garlicky naan and a bottle of Fetzer Gewurztraminer. The wine’s green apples, sweet apricots, and spicy notes will riff off the chutney and complement the soup’s mild curry heat.
Our tip: This soup can be made up to three days ahead, so it’s great if you’ve got the book club or your folks coming over, and you’re short on time. Similarly, the condiments will only get better with a day in the fridge.
For the mustard-turmeric oil:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
For the cilantro-raisin chutney:
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 Tbsp chopped Gelson’s jumbo golden raisins
2 Tbsp finely chopped Gelson’s organic cilantro stems, leaves reserved for garnish
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the stew and assembly:
3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic heads, top third removed
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp curry powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained (reserve water)
2 13 ½-oz cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ cups split red lentils
Kosher salt, to taste
Unsweetened toasted coconut flakes, thinly sliced serrano chiles, and cilantro leaves, for serving
To make the mustard-turmeric oil: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the olive oil and mustard seeds, swirling often, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the turmeric and cayenne. Season with salt and let cool. Note: The oil can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
To make the cilantro-raisin chutney: In a small bowl, combine the shallot, raisins, cilantro stems, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Note: The chutney can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
To make the stew: In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic heads (cut side down), and ginger, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the garlic is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the chickpeas and 5 cups of their soaking water, stirring to release any bits stuck on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid — slightly askew so steam can escape. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and skimming foam from surface as needed, until the chickpeas have swelled about 50 percent in size but are still crunchy, 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and red lentils to the pot and season conservatively with salt. Return to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have broken down to form a thick broth, 30 to 35 minutes.
Pluck out and discard the garlic heads (it’s okay if a few garlic cloves remain). Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the mustard-turmeric oil, cilantro-raisin chutney, coconut, chiles, and cilantro leaves.
Recipe source: Bon Appétit