This thick, stew like soup is eaten in many countries of the Middle East, often forming the centerpiece of simple peasant meals. Salads, olives, bread, and yogurt dishes are served on the side. Although soaked chickpeas are generally tender enough to eat after an hour of cooking, it is important here that they cook longer. This way the chickpeas themselves get somewhat softer, the liquid thickens considerably, and the soup develops a cohesion that it would otherwise lack. It might be a good idea to taste the soup before putting in the lemon juice. Chickpea broth has a natural sweetness that you may prefer to leave untouched.
2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, and drained
2 medium-sized onions, peeled, and chopped
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 T. salt, or to taste
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1 t. ground cumin seeds
1 t. ground coriander seeds
1/8 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. lemon juice
Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water for 12 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Put the chickpeas, onions, and 8 cups water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and another 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on very low heat for another 1-1/2 hours. Stir a few times during this period.
Check seasonings. Add the black pepper and lemon juice. Stir to mix. Serves 6.