Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lebanese Chickpea Soup (with Baharat Spice)

Every cuisine has its own set of spices that give the dishes of that cuisine a peculiar flavour and aroma. Just like Indian cuisine has its Garam Masala, Lebanese cuisine is famous for its Baharat spice powder. It is the mix of Pepper, Red chillies, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and several other spices. A pinch of Baharat adds an intense flavour and irresistible aroma to the Lebanese dishes including soups, sauces and salads.

Lebanese Chickpea Soup is a winter classic that is also an all-in-one meal if served with bread. The beauty of this soup is in its simplicity. It’s a kind of soup that keeps us warm during the winters. The flavor of the Baharat Spice is complemented with fragrant mint. 

Serving:  2-3 People

Approx. Time:  30 minutes 
For Soup Paste:
1 tbspn Olive Oil
6-8 Garlic cloves
1 medium Onion (roughly chopped)
1 medium Tomato (finely chopped)
1 cup Chickpeas (soaked overnight)
2 Red Chillies
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Mint leaves
1 cup Water

For Baharat Powder (Lebanese spice powder)
2 tbspn Coriander seeds (Dhana)
4-5 Red chillies 
1 tspn Black pepper powder (Miri)
1 Cinamon stick (Dalchini)
4-5 Cloves (Laung)
1/8 tspn Nutmeg Powder (Jaiphal)
1/8 tspn Sesame Seeds (Til)
1/8 tspn Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
1/8 tspn Fennel Seeds (Saunf)

For Final Soup:
1 tspn Butter
1 tspn Baharat Powder
1 tomato (finely chopped)
1 cup Water (or Vegetable Stock)
Salt to taste
1 tbspn lemon juice
1/4 tspn Red chilly powder 

For Garnishing:
Cherry tomatoes
Coriander leaves
Baharat Spice Powder

Soak the Chickpeas overnight for minimum 8 hours in water with a pinch of Soda Bi-carb. 

To make Baharat Powder:
Combine all the ingredients of Baharat Powder in a pan.  Dry roast the ingredients on slow flame for 3 to 4 minutes or till they start releasing aroma. Keep aside to cool. Once cool, blend it in a mixer to make coarse powder (or fine powder as per your taste). Store it in an air-tight container.

To make Soup Paste:
Heat Olive Oil in a pressure cooker. Add chopped garlic cloves and chopped Onion. Saute it till the Onion is transculent. Add the Red Chilles and saute. Then add the soaked Chickpeas and tomato. Saute it for 5 minutes. Finally add the Mint leaves, Salt and Water. Pressure cook till 3-4 whistles. Once done, remove the mint leaves from the mixture. Transfer it to a blender and blend it to a smooth paste. 

To make Lebanese Chickpea Soup:
Heat Butter in a deep pan. Add Baharat powder and saute. Then add the tomatoes and saute it for two minutes. Then add the Soup paste (cooked Chickpea paste), water (or Vegetable Stock) and Salt to taste. Simmer it for few minutes till it starts boiling. Adjust the water as per the required consistency. Finish it with lemon juice and red chilly powder. 

Transfer it into a serving bowl. Garnish it with Cherry tomatoes, finely chopped Coriander leaves and Baharat Powder. 

1. You may keep the Baharat Spice Mix ready well in advance and store it in an air-tight container. It has a long shelf life and can be used in Salads and Soups. 

Stepwise Pictures

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