Spicy Curried Eggplant & Chickpea Soup

As I write this post (and really, as I write most posts these days), my little man (who is almost ONE FULL YEAR OLD, have I mentioned?) is napping.  I’m thankful for the naps (they don’t always happen around these parts – he went a full day last week without one, YIKES), but it’s tough to get into the nap time blogging groove.

There are always toys to pick up (lest I trip over a mountain of wooden blocks, or loud plastic things that make music, which happens more often than I’d like to admit), laundry to start or finish, dishes to wash or put away (or Cheerios to remove from random kitchen crannies), mail to sort, et cetera et ceteraaaa, and by the time I finally sit down here it’s a race against the internal clock of a sleeping baby to post something, anything, of value.  Do you know that clock contraption?  It’s a very clever built-in timer that always knows the precise moment, the very one, when you’ve just sat down with your thoughts, fingers hovering over the keyboard, to wake the (albeit small and adorable) beast.  Oh well.  Hashtag real talk, hashtag mom life, or something.

But I need!  To tell you!  About this soup!  (!!!)  It’s so, so very good.  Simple to make, perfect to eat.  Plenty spiced, a bit spicy, lusciously thick and full of sweet onion and eggplant flavor.  And with a bit of coconut cream (or yogurt) on top, and a handful of herby greens, too, it’s a weeknight meal worth shouting about.  From nap time or any time, really.

Spicy Curried Eggplant & Chickpea Soup

Adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt

This is one of those accidental vegan recipes that I make from time to time — that is, without even realizing it’s vegan (I’m not vegan).  You can easily de-vegan-ize it by using chicken broth and topping it with cool yogurt, but it’s wonderful just as it is.  Also, tip: the soup gets better as it sits, so if you have the foresight to make it the day before you want to eat it, you’re in for a real treat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, chopped (and rinsed well)
  • 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or minced)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • big pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper (start with 1/8 teaspoon and adjust to your taste)
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped (leave the skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (reserve a little bit of the cream from the top of the can for garnish, if you like)
  • 4-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth (depending on how thick/thin you like your soup)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • chopped fresh cilantro, and green onion, for garnish

Directions:

In a large stock pot, warm the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Sweat the onion and leek until soft and translucent.  Stir in the ginger, jalapeno, salt, curry powder and cayenne, and cook another few minutes, until fragrant.

Add the eggplant, and stir to coat with oil and spice (if the pan seems very dry, add another dollop or two of coconut oil).  Stir in the soy sauce, tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk and broth.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, with the lid partially on, for about 30 minutes, until the eggplant is quite tender.

Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender/food processor, working in batches) to roughly purée the soup (I like it on the thicker/chunkier side).  Squeeze in the lime juice and taste and adjust the soup for seasoning.

Serve the soup hot, garnished with cilantro, scallions, and dollops of coconut cream, if you like.

Makes about 5 quarts of soup.

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