There are soups like this in traditional Persian and Turkish cuisine. Usually this one is made with a chicken or lamb stock, but this vegetarian version is just as delicious. It’s so much fun to discover and experiment with such dishes; I have found adding sautéed oyster mushrooms makes it the perfect meal. The yoghurt makes this dish unique, but if you are a vegan, omit the yoghurt and butter, and fry the mushrooms in olive oil.
If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in plenty of cold water.
Next day, soak the mung beans in cold water for 2 hours.
Drain the mung beans, and the dried chickpeas, if using. Place them in a saucepan with at least
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Add the chilli pieces and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes pulpy.
Mix the yoghurt with a little bit of water to thin it, then stir in the chickpea flour; this will help stop the soup ‘splitting’.
Stirring continuously, slowly add the yoghurt to the soup. Turn off the heat, stir in the crushed peppercorns and season to taste with salt.
In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When it starts to froth, add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until tender and soft. Stir in the green chilli, mint and dill, then season to taste.
Serve the soup immediately, with a spoonful of the mushrooms on top.
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