First posted: Aug 8, 2016

Spicy Butternut and Chickpea Soup


Spicy Butternut and Chickpea Soup
with Coconut Cream
(from ‘Smitten‘)

Hi Everyone! I’m heading to Cape Town later this week to join in all the fun of the food photos for my next book, and so I’ve been thinking a lot about past shoots and how much I love seeing my recipes come to life in the very capable hands of talented food stylists (this pic by Lisa Clark) and photographers (Warren Heath), and it reminded me that I’ve been wanting to post this recipe on the blog for ages.

This time around, we’ll be working with the lovely Luisa Farelo and Curtis Gallon and I’m so excited to share some pics of all the happy behind-the-scenes chaos later this week!

ANYWAY, this soup is gorgeously creamy, swimming in the silkiness of coconut milk; and it’s also packed full of warming Indian spices. And yet still light and merry with the vibrant brightness of the baby spinach leaves. And, come to think of it, it’s also almost a stew of sorts, rather than a soup at all. If you need to add another dimension, buy a pre-cooked chicken, shred some of the meat and add it in just before serving. Also, for all you ‘banters’ out there, it works just as well with pumpkin.



Cooks in:        Serves:4

  • 800g butternut (or pumpkin), peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp each of dried chill flakes, curry powder, cumin, dried coriander
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar (or coconut sugar, or alternative healthy sweetener, to taste)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tin chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 small tin coconut cream (about 150-200ml)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do

1. Boil the butternut in a large pot of salted water until cooked through but still firm, then drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, over med-high heat, add the olive oil to a large pot. When it is hot, add the onion, turn down to medium heat and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger and all the spices and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

3. Add in the tinned tomatoes and sugar, stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Add in the cooked butternut, the chickpeas and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, and then turn down to a simmer for a further 15 minutes. Stir through the coconut cream, check for seasoning, and then add in the spinach leaves just before serving.

4. Serve in warmed soup bowls with fresh pita breads on the side.

Photo from 'Smitten' by Warren Heath.

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