Friday, December 9, 2011

Curry Chickpea Soup

We had soup three times in the past week, since it is cold--at least at night--as far as Southern California standards go. Plus it is a good way to get a balanced meal into the kids in one shot: you can get your veggies, beans, and grains, all in one blended bowl.  I made this particular soup to accompany a samosa recipe from the new Big Vegan cookbook (which is overall outstanding, but the crust on the samosas was too dry), and they paired well together. Usually I shy away from recipes that call for curry powder because the spices you buy under that label taste nothing like the Indian food you eat in the restaurant, so I am almost always disappointed with what I make.  However, Abiline loves foods with lots of spices, and has shown a preference for curry-flavored foods, so I thought I would experiment. This soup was a pretty big hit; the apple chutney that I adapted from Big Vegan really finished it off well, so I will include that recipe here, too.

For the soup:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 medium apple, chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
1/3 cup raisins
heaping 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (could use 1/4 cup dry and then up the water by 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
About 3 cups water (enough to cover the veggies when simmering), plus more to thin out
3 Tbsp. minced cilantro

For the chutney:
1 medium apple, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar or sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas, sweet potato, curry powder, salt, and ginger, stir to coat the chickpeas and sweet potato with the spices and saute for 5 mins. Add the apple, spinach, raisins, coconut milk, and water (also add the dry quinoa, if using). Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 mins, until the sweet potato is tender (and the quinoa is cooked).
2.  While the soup cooks, prepare the apple chutney and refrigerate.
3. Let the soup cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender. Add the cooked quinoa (if you didn't cook it in the soup) and the cilantro and puree. Taste for spices and salt and add more if desired. Thin with additional water as needed. Serve with about 2 Tbsp. chutney on top of each portion.  

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