Turmeric is a spice that has worked its way more and more onto my plate, and into my heart. It’s a big flavor, with a smokiness and pungency that is hard to quell. When I use turmeric, I go all in. I commit to the big flavor and counterbalance it with a hint of sweetness. In this soup, the sweetness of falling apart chickpeas and coconut milk balances beautifully with the earthy aromatics of turmeric. Top it all off with the mustard notes of charred Brussels sprouts and a generous handful of scallions and cilantro, if you like.
If you are using dried chickpeas, place them in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Leave them to soak overnight, then drain when ready to use.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, thyme, and a pinch of salt and cook for 3–4 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the chickpeas, along with the vegetable stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 1⁄2–2 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft and falling apart—if you are using canned chickpeas, simmer for 30 minutes only. Discard the thyme sprig and stir in the coconut milk.
While the chickpeas are cooking, make the charred Brussels sprouts. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add a big drizzle of olive oil, and add the Brussels sprouts to the pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, until the sprouts are charred and slightly crispy all over. Set aside.
Using a hand-held blender or food processor, purée the soup, working
in batches if necessary and adding a few tablespoons of water if too thick, until the soup is smooth and silky. Season well with sea salt.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with the charred Brussels sprouts, scallions, and cilantro, if using. Sprinkle each bowl with pumpkin seeds.
Substitutes: Instead of the Brussels sprouts, feel free to use broccoli rabe, broccoli, cauliflower instead.
Tip: This soup can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge—without the Brussels sprouts and herbs—for 2 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.