Tunisian cumin and carrot soup, with harissa

Photo: Simon Lambert
Photo: Simon Lambert
This soup has become a favourite for me as it ticks all the boxes of a hearty comforting soup, packed with flavour, and texture and is very economical to make. To make this soup even more substantial add a soft poached egg to the soup.

Serves 6

500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely diced

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

4 carrots, peeled and diced

1½ litres cold water

1 tsp salt

1 lemon

1-2 Tbsp harissa (chilli sauce)

50ml unsweetened natural yoghurt

handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped


Begin by soaking the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse. Cook with 2 cloves of garlic in plenty of cold water until tender (about 1 hour).

Add the spices to a dry pan and toast for 1-2 minutes. Grind until fine powder.

Add the oil, diced onions and remaining garlic to a heavy-based large pot. Cook for five minutes without colouring.

Add the spices and continue to cook for a further minute or two.

Add the carrots and cook for another five minutes.

Cover with the water and cook for 30 minutes.

Make the coriander yoghurt by mixing the coriander, yoghurt and a pinch of salt. Set aside until required.

Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Season with salt and add 1 tablespoon harissa.

Using either a potato masher or hand blender, blitz lightly so that the chickpeas slightly thicken the soup.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve in warm bowls with a spoonful of coriander yoghurt, a drizzle of harissa and a squeeze of lemon juice.


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