Coconut curried yam and chickpea soup

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Jennifer Pallian
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If you had seen the Vancouver weather forecast the past few weeks (months??) you would forgive my urge to thrust soup upon you at a time when you want to be thinking about asparagus and rhubarb and maybe even the first rosy strawberries. Rain! Rain! Rain! Yes, the eternally rainy long-range forecast has been the bane of my existence and the inspiration for numerous unladylike strings of profanities. There may have been tears. And there may have even been a threat to the weatherman about where he was going to get an umbrella shoved...

Then karma bit me in the butt. It snowed yesterday. I don't wanna talk about it.

Let's move on. You know, all that being said, the combination of chickpeas, yams, and coconut milk makes a soup I would eat even on a suffering-hot July day. It is a whole lotta yummy. Yummy soup is a good silver lining to all the $%&#-ing rain. SEE?! Unladylike. Shame.

Okay, so you start with a flavour base of onions, garlic, jalapenos, aromatic curry paste and pungent cayenne. The sweetness of yams lends itself incredibly well to curry spices, the coconut milk adds a lovely nutty flavour and a richness that tempers the heat, and the chickpeas provide substance, making this a true meal in a bowl. You know what else would be incredible? Skip the chickpeas, sub in about one third of a cup of natural peanut butter, and puree the entire thing for an African yam soup.

It's great for weekday lunches! Make a batch on Sunday and enjoy a no-brain-required midday meal for the next 3 or 4 days.

Other things you should do this weekend? Paint your toenails. Dust your house. Go through your closets and give anything to charity that you haven't worn for a whole season. Put air in your bike tires. Shave your legs (oh right, you're supposed to do that anyway...). Get ready for spring! It's coming, I still believe it!

Coconut Curried Yam and Chickpea Soup

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp curry paste (or you could use powder), plus more to taste

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (about 2 cups)

  • 1 large yam, cubed

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 can coconut milk (slightly less than 2 cups)

  • salt to taste

  • chopped cilantro, to taste (I use lots - maybe 1/3 cup minced. Start with 1-2 tbsp minced if you're not sure)

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Cook onions, jalapeno pepper, and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, one minute. Add chickpeas, cubed yam, chicken broth, water and coconut milk. Season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until yams are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro, reserving a bit for garnish if desired.