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African Chickpea Soup

Photo: Penny De Los Santos

Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 3 hrs

Makes 8 servings

My Uncle Paul and Aunt Sonia Bontemps, who helped found an African-American genealogical society, took Grandma on a trip to revisit the scenes of her youth and explore our family history. One myth, which can't be proved, is that the Bontemps family descended from Madagascar. The possibility encouraged us in the exploration of Madagascan foodstuffs and foodways, culminating in this hearty and healthy recipe.


  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground turmeric
  • 4 cups Sweet Potato Broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 bunch fresh mustard greens, chopped
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Garnish: dried crushed red pepper

How to Make It

  1. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large saucepan over medium heat 1 minute; add 1 tsp. dried crushed red pepper and next 4 ingredients. Cook 1 to 2 more minutes or until fragrant. (Toasting the spices opens up their flavor.) Stir in Sweet Potato Broth, coconut milk, and greens. Bring to a gentle boil; add chickpeas. Reduce heat to low, and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until greens are soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Soul Food Love, copyright 2015 by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams. To be published by Clarkson Potter on Feb 3, 2015.