So January being what it is, most of us are trying to make up for the excesses of both the holiday season, and the brilliance that is for most people, the summer holidays. With summer too, came an onset of summer flus that seemed to catch like wildfire. I was no different, and struggled along with a flu that lasted a full 2 weeks of being miserable, left for a week, then came back in full force. So I was craving some comfort food, but at the same time, wanted it to be reasonably healthy. Moroccan Soup, enter stage left…
Though I usually wouldn’t crave, think about or even want soup in the heat that is summer in Australia, I couldn’t get the idea of this one out of my head. But I’m glad I made it – it was delicious, and something about the clean, spicy tastes really restored me, and made me feel a damn sight better.
I wrote the recipe down as I went along, but you should try playing around with the proportions of the different flavours – it is difficult to see how you could go wrong. Don’t worry too much about the noodles used either. You could either skip adding them, use vermicelli noodles, short egg noodles, whatever you feel like…
- 1 red onion, chopped finely
- 1 golden shallot, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic (I reckon you could add more), chopped into slices
- 1/2 paprika, chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I think minced fresh ginger would be brilliant, especially if you are feeling under the weather, but I didn’t have it)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ras el hanout (moroccan spice blend)
- a handful of rice & corn vermicelli noodles (you could use the normal kind, but it was what I had on hand)
- a handful of egg noodle pasta (again, what I had)
- a can of chickpeas
Garnish (this is the best bit of the soup)
- mint, chopped
- coriander, chopped
- caramelised onions
- lime juice
- chilli olives
- chopped, dry roasted nuts
- thick greek style yoghurt
There is not much of a science to this, as at the end of the day, you are making a pretty rustic soup. I started with throwing some oil into a large saucepan, and gently sauteing the onion, golden shallot and paprika (medium to low heat, let it sweat a little). When they were starting to turn a light golden brown, I threw in the dried spices and let them flavour the oil (about a minute). Then in with the noodles and chickpeas, add some stock powder (depending on how salty you like it, maybe start with a tablespoon), and however much water you like – this will depend on how chunky you want the soup.
Increase the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and let it bubble away. In 20 minutes or so, it should be well and truly ready to eat.
While the soup is bubbling away, you can prepare some of the garnishes. I dry roasted some flaked almonds I had, but you could also use chopped pistachio nuts, cashews, almonds, etc…
Chop the herbs that you want to use, you can play around with these as well, though I think the mint and coriander work the best with moroccan flavours.
Then ladle the soup into bowls, and either set out little bowls with the toppings so you can add them to taste, or throw some of the garnishes on top of the soup.
Ta da! (almost) Instant comfort soup in a single bowl, and not much washing up either!
You can play around with the garnishes as you like. I love chilli, and happened to have some chilli olives in the fridge. But you could use plain olives, or leave them out altogether if you don’t like them. Similarly, I think some preserved lemon would be great, as would harissa (a fiery moroccan chilli paste). Enjoy!