“Food is the one thing I can talk to my teta (grandmother) about. It opens up possibilities for a more meaningful connection. It also eases my guilt about being a terrible grandson and an even worse Egyptian”
Phil Soliman serves Egyptian chickpea soup to the visitors of Bankstown Arts Centre, in Sydney’s south west. During the performance, we can hear a conversation Phil has with his grandmother, about food, his sick grandfather, and his grandmother’s story as an Egyptian immigrant to Australia in the Seventies.
Teta’s Chickpea Soup Recipe
1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 can pre-cooked chickpeas (dried is better!)
2 L cold water
1 stalk celery, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 carrot, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp salt
Choose any or all of these garnishes to add after cooking
Pickled onion, turnip, lemon or cabbage
Fresh chopped tomato
Fresh chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
- Pick over chickpeas and remove any dark, rotten chickpeas or small stones. Rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt. Soak dried chickpeas in 2L of cold water and mix in 1 tsp of bicarb soda (this helps soften the chickpeas). Obviously this isn’t necessary if you’re using pre-cooked chickpeas. Drain both soaked and canned chickpeas of their water.
- Place all of the ingredients except the salt into a pressure cooker. Bring to the boil uncovered, then pop the lid on and reduce the heat. Cook for 20-30 mins or until the chickpeas are tender without being mush. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the same way in a large saucepan for an hour or so.
- Carefully remove the lid and stir in the salt. Serve in bowls topped with any or all of the garnishes listed above.