Chick Pea Rice Soup

Every once in a great while you find yourself with leftover rice in the fridge but no craving for a stir-fry. What is one to do?! Why create a soup, of course! Most of my recipes are born out of random ingredients laying around in my fridge, like half a can of tomato paste, a handful of fresh herbs, a glass of wine (the sin!) or in this case, leftover cooked rice. I looked around and saw the leftover rice, some cooked chick peas, a small can of tomato sauce and the squeaky wheels started turning in my head. I happened to be in Puerto Rico at the time and had access to my favorite herb on the planet, culantro (known as recao in Puerto Rico and ngò gai in Vietnam). Though different than its Puerto Rican incarnation, culantro is more fragrant that cilantro, with a pungent aroma and taste. I was able to locate some at a Vietnamese market in Portland labeled as “ngò gai” and “Vietnamese parsley”. I assure you the search is worth it. You can substitute cilantro in this recipe if culantro is not available.

Culantro 

Chick Pea Rice Soup

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 large onion, diced
1/2 bulb of garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
14.5 oz can spicy or plain tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups cooked chick peas
1 3/4 cups cooked rice
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
large handful chopped culantro
1/8 tsp of cayenne or chipotle pepper powder
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt, to taste

1. Warm olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions, celery and salt. Stir and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes.  Splash 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock in pot to deglaze vegetables.
2. Add remaining water or vegetable stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Add chick peas and reduce heat. Simmer until broth is fragrant and flavors are combined.
3. Add rice and corn. Cook for an additional five minutes then add fresh culantro. Turn off heat. Season with cayenne or chipotle pepper powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 4-6 bowls

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6 thoughts on “Chick Pea Rice Soup

  1. I used to grow my own culantro. In miami, it grows wild in everyone's yard. A friend gave me a clipping & I started a mother plant. It quickly turned into a garden of baby culantro plants. It is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE herb in the world. My ex husband killed my plant & so I am left without one but some day I will have another mother plant! I'm happy to know someone else who loves this herb as much as I do and appreciates its pungent flavor!

  2. hey spicy vegan! I finally got a chance to come check out your blog again… it's been a while. This post is well-timed because I recently made a soup that called for culantro, and had to use cilantro instead. It was my first time ever hearing of culantro. Now I am very curious indeed. I wonder where I could get some, or grow some like Sunny!!!

  3. Hey Amey!I found culantro at a Vietnamese market in town. I believe it's quite popular at most Asian markets. It was labeled as "Vietnamese Parsley" and then in smaller print it said "ngò gai", which is the Vietnamese name. If you follow the Wikipedia link I posted above you'll see the many names this herb goes by. It is seriously one of my favorite herbs on the planet, I use it in anything I would boldly use cilantro, like lentils and rice or a stir fry. I haven't tried making salsa yet but it's on my list! Let me know if you find it and get a chance to make this soup or anything with it!Sunny, thanks for the comment! I would KILL for a culantro plant! Do you think it can grown in a pot in a kitchen? I don't have a yard. 😦

  4. Ooh a good omen for a great year of food discovery me thinks! I have never heard of culantro before. I wonder if the Asian shops in the UK will stock it. I am off to scout some out.

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