Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Watercress & chickpea soup with rose water & ras el hanout

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2 medium carrots (250g in total), cut into 2cm dice
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tbsp ras el hanout
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
240g cooked chickpeas, fresh or tinned
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
15g finely chopped fresh root ginger
600ml vegetable stock
200g watercress
100g spinach leaves, washed
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp rose water
Greek yoghurt, to serve (optional)

Ras el hanout is a spice blend brought to Jerusalem by North African Jews consisting of mainly sweet and hot spices, toasted and ground. There isn’t one definitive recipe, every spice shop in North Africa (hanout means ‘shop’ in Arabic) has its own ‘flagship’ spice blend with a typical set of secret components. Home cooks buy the blend or try to emulate it themselves. In any case, the name stuck, signifying a sweet and heady mix. Commercial varieties available in the UK are fine but feel free to enhance them with your own additions. If your ras el hanout doesn’t contain cinnamon, make sure you add some as we do here. If you don’t like rose water, leave it out.

Serves 4

(p 132, Jerusalem)


The method for this recipe is available in the book Jerusalem, available to buy here.
Jerusalem |

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Perfect with

  1. Rose water 100%

    Rose water 100%


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