Tomato, Coconut & Chickpea Soup

A restorative, creamy soup with a whisper of the faraway tropics!

There's tomato soup and there's tomato soup. And then there's tomato soup with a little twist, in this case, a tomato soup with hint of something tropical and fully-loaded with energy.

This is a soup with energetic punch - protein-rich chickpeas and natural coconut fats - yet is profoundly calming and delicate to eat. The acidity of the tomatoes is buffed down by cool and creamy coconut milk, bulked up with meaty chickpeas, softly sweetened with carrots and spiked with a spritz of fresh lime.

I recommend full-fat coconut milk; don't feel bad, it's good for you and you probably deserve the energy! If you want to go a bit further, you could try and toast some coconut shavings in a dry pan for a few minutes, and serve on top. Sadly, coconuts aren't in season here right now, but if you can somehow get your hands on coconut flesh, do give it a whirl!

I kept the flavours and spices in this soup very mild and subtle. There's a touch of onion, a touch of garlic and a touch of ginger. There's no sharp, black pepper or burn from chilli. This is a potion that comes in peace and brings harmony. It's great for low-impact supper or packed lunch that doesn't overwhelm on those days when added stimulation is that last thing you want. It's a delicious, comforting recipe that can fit into your life as and when you need the harmony.

What You'll Need:

+ 1 large White Onion +
+ 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil +
+ 2 large Carrots +
+ 2 cans of Chopped Tomatoes +
+ 1 can of drained Chickpeas +
+ 1 can of Full-Fat Coconut Milk +
+ 350ml of Vegetable Stock (or Water) +
+ 1 fresh Lime (or 2 tablespoons of Lime Juice) +
+ 1 teaspoon of Sea Salt +
+ 1/2 teaspoon of ground White Pepper +
+ 1 Bay Leaf +
+ 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Ginger (or 1-inch-cubed piece of Fresh Ginger) +
+ 1 clove of Garlic +
+ 2 teaspoons of White Sugar +

1. Set a large pot onto the hob and begin to heat your tablespoon of coconut oil until it melts. Chop your onion as fine as you can and add it to a bowl for the time being. Now chop your two carrots as fine as you can, and keep these separate from your onions.

 I use a food processor for these jobs - it quick and gives my kitchen knives a break. They get used a lot, so they deserve a holiday right? Right.

2. Set a large pot onto the hob and start melting your tablespoon of coconut oil down until hot. When hot, tip in your chopped onions and then turn the heat right down to low. Give everything a stir so the onions are coated in oil, and then add your teaspoon of sea salt.

The salt draws all of the water out of the onions and makes sure they don't burn, it's a nifty trick!

Fry the onions until they are softened and slightly see-through - should take around 5-10 minutes.

3. Add in your chopped carrots, your clove of garlic (grated or finely chopped) and your 2 tablespoons of lime juice. If you're using a fresh lime, use all of the juice from the fruit. If you've just taken a lime from the fridge, do zap it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. This makes the lime donate more of its juice - they have a tendency to be tight with the goods!

Fry everything on low, until you begin to smell the garlic, for around 2 minutes.

4. Now we start the heavy graft.

As if!

Simply add in your 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, your can of coconut milk and your 350ml of Vegetable Stock or Water.

Stir everything around to stop the vegetables from burning, turn up the hob heat to high and bring everything up to boil.

Now you can relax! Hard part is over. You really cannot bollocks it up from here on.

5. Once boiling, now let's add in our spices. Throw in your bay leaf, your ginger, your pepper and your sugar. Give everything a good stir, before setting the lid half-on-half-off, turning down the hob heat to low and leave the pan for 45-60 minutes.

If the soup looks liquidy at this stage - not to worry - some of the liquid is going to evaporate while we leave it to simmer, and the chickpeas are going to thicken everything a bit later!

6. Once you've left your soup for up to an hour, it should look a bit thicker. There's no harm in leaving it to simmer for longer if you can bear to, but if you're happy, let's add our chickpeas!

Drain your can of chickpeas and add them, whole, to the soup. Turn the heat u to high and bring the soup to a boil again for 5-10 minutes, until the chickpeas are softened and mushy.

7. Once you have mushy chickpeas, time to turn off the heat, and turn this panful of soothe into a smooth balm!

You can do this with a countertop blender, a food processor or a stick blender. Everything in the soup already be very soft, so you'll have no trouble whizzing it into a smooth, slick soup!

8. Once blended smooth, it's good to serve!

I do recommend bottling/packaging it and leaving it in the fridge/freezer for 2/3 days. Like any soup, the flavour becomes SO much more profound and wonderful - if you can bear to wait that long. ;)

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Anthony :)



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