Indian Chickpea and Pumpkin Soup

Winter squash soups are a healthy and economical way to comfort and nourish the body and soul during the long cold months ahead. Chickpeas add depth and protein to this colourful and delicious autumn pumpkin soup, enhanced with a zesty Indian seed and spice tempering that will warm and delight your guests. Serve with a whole grain for a complete and wholesome vegetarian meal.

Soup:

  • ¾ cup dried chickpeas
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 dried whole red chilies
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Tempering:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

Garnish:

  • ¼ cup dried coconut flakes

Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water and soak overnight in a bowl covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added.

Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas and add to a medium saucepan. Cover with 4 cups of fresh cold water, add the cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the chickpeas are soft and buttery. Discard the cinnamon and set aside.

Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, toss in the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Add the whole chilies, stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and continue to cook, stirring, for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Discard the chilies. Pour in the chickpeas along with their cooking liquid, and bring the soup to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and purée the soup until smooth using a hand blender or in batches in a countertop blender. Season with salt and set aside.

To temper the soup, heat a small frying pan or saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl to coat the bottom. Toss in the tempering seeds and spices, and stir until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Remove from heat and pour the seasoning into the soup. Let sit for a few moments to let the flavours mingle before stirring into the soup.

Meanwhile, toast the coconut over low heat in a small saucepan for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a scattering of toasted coconut. Serves 4.