When I was in Calgary a couple of weeks ago visiting my BFF, she took me to the Lazy Loaf and Kettle for lunch. I crafted my own sandwich, with multigrain bread, turkey, cranberry sauce and a few other ingredients, and it was so fresh and delicious. But it was the soup that really blew me away. I believe it was called Coconut Curry Chickpea, and it was thick and satisfying with tender chickpeas and a lovely initial level of heat that developed to a satisfying kick.
When I got home, memories of that soup were still dancing in my head, so I was inspired to make a soup that would leave me with the same warm, satisfied feeling. I decided to add pureed pumpkin to the coconut milk base, since I still have most of what I froze last year and it adds a rich, seasonal touch. Besides, pumpkin isn’t just for pie!
When I was building the curry, my first instinct was to use garam masala,but I decided to go with chana masala instead. Chana masala is less spicy, and imparts the tang of mango and pomegranate powders. Although I also added a minced large red chile pepper, the soup was pleasingly mildly spicy with a hint of sweetness. Sometimes I like more kick, but the Culinary Enthusiast and I enjoyed it like this.
In fact, I do believe the CE polished off the rest of the pot when he got home from the gym later that night. I’d say an empty pot is a good indication of when I’ve come up with a winning recipe.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Chickpea Soup
It was such a pleasure to take inspiration from the soup I enjoyed in Calgary and build this one from scratch. If you haven’t tried making your own curries, please do. It’s so satisfying and puts you in total control of the flavouring. I’m not saying pre-blended curry powders don’t have their place, but there’s something special about crafting a combination of seeds and spices to suit your own tastes. And it’s fun when those mustard seeds start to pop and jump!
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds)
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 3 tsp chana masala
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 large red chile pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/2 tsp dried curry leaf, crushed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
- 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup chopped tomato (I used frozen)
- 1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed
Heat the coconut over medium low heat, then add the kalonji and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start popping, turn the heat to low and stir in the chana masala and the aromatics. Cook for a few minutes, stirring. (Your kitchen will be smelling so good at this point — make sure your exhaust fan is on and make the neighbours jealous!) When the onions and garlic have cooked down a bit add the curry leaf, salt, coconut milk and pumpkin puree. Stir until well blended, then add the tomato and chickpeas. Bring to a low boil, turn the heat to simmer and cook until the chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings after 20 minutes or so; if you want to make it spicier, for instance, you could add some dried red chile flakes, and you’ll want to allow time for the flavours to meld.
Serve and enjoy a fragrant bowl of exotic fall flavours.
One Year Ago: A Quick Lunch – Fragrant Red Lentil Dahl
Two Years Ago: Speaking of Pumpkin … Ice Cream