Hearty, healthy, tasty – perfect for a quick weeknight dinner
Autumn is soup weather! Yeah, we always say that, don’t we? Doesn’t make it any less true though.
For this soup, we combine peak-season sweet potatoes with chickpeas and warming curry spices. Then we add red bell pepper and sweet green peas for an extra pop of flavor and color.
Looks good, tastes better. Our kind of food.
Recipe: Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup
Despite the long list of ingredients, this recipe is quick to make. Many of the components are just spices that flavor the dish. (See Notes for more on the spices.)
Ingredient quantities (and the ingredients themselves) are somewhat flexible in this recipe – so feel free to tinker with it to suit your taste. In particular, do note that the recipe as written makes for a fairly thick soup (almost a stew). You might want to add more liquid if you prefer a “soupier” consistency.
Prep time plus cooking time for this dish is 30 to 40 minutes.
The recipe yields 6 to 8 main-course servings. Leftovers can be frozen for a month or two.
BTW, this soup alone is enough to make a meal for us. But you might want to add a salad or some bread.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into dice of about 1 inch
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (we use extra-virgin olive oil, but use what you like)
- salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into dice of about 1 inch or a bit less
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed if you like (see Notes)
- ~5 cups chicken stock (or more to taste; see Notes)
- 1 cup frozen green peas (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Prep the onion and red bell pepper. Place a soup pot or Dutch oven on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the oil. When it’s heated (it’ll shimmer), add the diced onion and red bell pepper. Add salt to taste, then stir to combine. Sauté until the onion is translucent but not brown – 5 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, peel the garlic and add it to a mini food processor. Peel the ginger (see Notes) and add it to the mini food processor. Whirl a few times to mince.
- Add the minced garlic/ginger mixture to the cooking pot and sauté for 1 minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine, then sauté for about 30 seconds.
- Add the diced sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then let it simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked through (20 minutes or so).
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the frozen peas and simmer for about 3 minutes, until the peas are cooked through.
- Almost ready to serve: Stir in the garam masala, then ladle the soup into bowls. Enjoy!
- We sometimes make this soup without the peas and instead stir in spinach (or another hearty green) at the end. We simmer until the greens are just cooked through (a few minutes for spinach, longer for other greens).
- We often make this soup with chicken stock, but it’s equally good with vegetable stock, or even just water. That would make it perfect for Meatless Monday!
- Peeling the ginger is optional, particularly when using a mini food processor (though we often do so).
- If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can just mince the garlic and ginger by hand.
- We’re using canned chickpeas in this recipe. But you could use cooked, dried chickpeas if you prefer.
- Draining is optional when using canned chickpeas (the canning liquid actually tastes good – which is not the case with most canned beans).
- You can substitute dried lentils for the chickpeas. Just add about ¾ cup lentils (pick over and rinse them first). Cook until the lentils are soft. Lentils usually are ready to go in 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the type of lentil), so you won’t have to adjust the total simmering time much, if at all. Lentils absorb liquid when cooking, though, so we suggest adding another cup or two of stock.
- We use red bell pepper in this dish because we like both the flavor and the color. But you can substitute orange or yellow pepper if you prefer.
- “Curry” tends to connote a South Asian dish that contains assertive flavors like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and spicy peppers. We generally use a combination of those, along with ginger, garlic, and garam masala.
- If you don’t want to add all the spices separately, you could just use a commercial curry powder – there are some tasty brands available.
- Even if you go the commercial curry powder route, though, we still recommend using fresh garlic and ginger, plus garam masala.
- Garam masala is a mixture that typically contains several “warming” spices. The appeal of garam masala is as much about its enticing aroma as the flavor pop it provides. That’s why we add it to the dish right before serving – so the aroma is fresh and concentrated.
- Although garam masala contains some of the same spices you’ll find in curry powder blends, the flavor is quite different (and the two are not interchangeable). Garam masala provides finishing flavor rather than base flavor.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Love soup this time of year,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Takes the chill off.”
“Yup, warms our cockles,” I said. “Whatever cockles are.”
“They’re molluscs, similar to clams,” said Mrs K R. “Though the word also refers to heart ventricles.”
“How did that happen?” I said. “Did the cockles eat someone’s heart out?”
“It’s probably from Latin, my little bivalve,” said Mrs K R. “Some people think it derives from cochlea, which means snail.”
“Well, that clears everything up,” I said. “Not.”
“Apparently, somebody thought the heart’s ventricle fibers looked like a snail shell,” said Mrs K R.
Right, well . . . at least this is a hearty soup. So I guess it’s all good.
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