Moroccan Style Chickpea Soup

This is a great simple soup that I discovered when I was in Fez a few years back. We stayed in the old town, medina, and close to our hotel was a hole-in-a-wall type of breakfast place, serving freshly baked bread and chickpea soup. The soup was so delicious that we went there every morning, and so filling that we could keep on walking around the medina late into afternoon before we got hungry again. I think this soup is pretty close to the one that I had in Fez, and in any case, it’s absolutely delicious!


We’ve tried a couple of variations of this soup. This version is basically a crossbreed between a recipe that was in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about three years ago, and various chick pea soup recipes from the excellent Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & Africa by Habeeb Salloum. This is what we used:

  • 5 dl dried chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 small leeks, chopped to matchsticks
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
  • 2 potatoes, boiled and cubed
  • 1 liter water
  • 5 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • some freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt or according to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

About one hour before cooking, we put the chickpeas in a bowl, and filled it with boiling water. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you should soak the chick peas overnight. We put the cooker over medium-high heat and heated the olive oil. We then fried the chopped leek and sliced garlic for a couple of minutes, stirring frequenty so that the garlic wouldn’t burn. Next, we poured in the water and the chickpeas and added the vegetable stock powder, covered the cooker, and cooked on high pressure for 2o minutes. Then we lowered the pressure, added the cubed potatoes, cilantro, cumin and paprika, and cooked on low pressure for 10 minutes more. If you’re not using a pressure cooker, you’d probably need to cook the chick peas about for an hour, and then add the spices and potatoes, and simmer maybe 15 minutes more.

Now, we took the cooker off the heat, lowered the pressure, and used our immersion blender to purée the soup. Then we added the salt, lemon juice and black pepper. I guess this goes without saying, but at this point sample the taste, adding salt, pepper or lemon juice as you see (or taste) fit.

We served the soup sprinkled with chili and cumin and topped off with a liberal splash of olive oil. These are essential! Also have a few extra slices of lemon handy, which can be squeezed on top of the serving according to taste.


Ground cumin (also known as jeera, geerah, kamoon), crushed red chili, and red paprika powder, with some frozen cilantro on the background.