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Tamarind Chickpea Soup (sweet, sour, spicy, so savoury!)

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Tamarind chickpea soup is so full of amazing sweet, sour, spicy and super savoury flavours. It only takes 45 minutes to have a delicious and nutritious pot of tamarind chickpea soup ready to go.

Garnished with toasted crispy cashews and finished off with a swirl of vegan cream or scoop of vegan yogurt for the ultimate plant-based indulgence.

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Two bowls of chickpea soup with small pan of cashews, lemon wedge to side, naan breads, all placed on grey tray.

What is tamarind and where can I buy tamarind paste?

Tamarind paste is made from the sticky fruit pulp contained within the bean-like pod of the tamarind tree that is indigenous to some parts of Africa, India, and Mexico. Tamarind is also cultivated as ornamental garden plants and for agricultural purposes.

Tamarind paste can often be found in the world food section of many supermarkets. I sourced my tub from Asda, UK (not an affiliate ad link). Or if your lucky enough to be near to an Asian supermarket then your bound to find tamarind paste for sale.

Often pressed tamarind pulp can be sourced in a small packet from supermarkets, wholefood, and Asian stores and this can be used to prepare tamarind water. Which you can use instead of tamarind paste. I have done this many times and its an easy process. Just follow the instructions on the packet.

What does tamarind paste taste like?

The flavour of tamarind is sour, sweet and fruity so is perfect for creating depths of flavour in soups, curries, and stews. Tamarind is a common ingredient in many Indian curries and Thai dishes, such as Pad Thai.

Western products such as Worcester sauce and brown sauce often make use of tamarind as a key ingredient, so if you have never heard of or tasted tamarind before its likely you have consumed tamarind but just didn’t know!

What else can I use tamarind paste for?

In Mexico they make a delicious chilled non-alcoholic drink agua de Tamarindo (Tamarindo drink) (link to a recipe). A pitcher of Tamarindo drink is perfect for cooling down on hot summer days. And is an ideal way to use up some of your tamarind paste.

Another delicious idea is to make this quick tamarind chutney recipe, which will provide a flavour and texture boost to any dish, or even enjoy with some vegan cheese and crackers!

Is Tamarind good for you?

Tamarind has been used as part of herbal medicine since the medieval times although more research is needed for any conclusive health benefit claims.

Tamarind is a nutritious and worthwhile addition to our diets as it is high in antioxidants, B vitamins, essential amino acids, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorous.

Vegan tamarind chickpea soup

Each bite of this yummy soup is full of flavour. I could literally eat it everyday!

From the flavour pops of fennel and nigella seeds, to the toasted crunchy cashews and savoury coriander, the creamy potatoes and chickpeas, and sweet carrot and onion.

Not forgetting the sweet and sourness or the tamarind. Its just so warming and satisfying.

All the ingredients compliment the Indian spices and tomato based sauce wonderfully. The beauty of this recipe is that it is flexible as the amount of spice can be altered depending on you and your family’s preferences.

My kids don’t like their food too spicy so I just add a pinch of chilli flakes, but a fresh chilli can be sliced and added along with the onion for more heat. Alternatively simply add more chilli flakes or even garnish with a fresh sliced chilli, if your feeling extra brave!

It’s so easy to prepare this soup, which is what I aim for each time I attempt to get creative and start experimenting with new soups.

Pretty simple method to prepare tamarind chickpea soup

First off fennel and nigella seeds are briefly cooked in olive oil, before the onions and garlic are added, followed by the carrot, potato, chickpeas and the rest of the spices turmeric, paprika, and chilli flakes.

Next the chopped tomatoes and vegan stock are poured in, before stewing for at least 25 minutes.

small granite fry pan with toasted cashews, lemon wedges to side.
Add a sprinkle of salt and perhaps some red pepper or chilli flakes to the cashews as they toast.

While the soup is cooking, quickly roast the cashews in a small pan. Simply add the cashews to your pan with a sprinkle of salt, and over a medium heat shake the pan often until the cashews are tinged with golden colours. Once the pan is very hot you can lift it off the heat and just shoogle it back and forth. The cashews will continue to brown in the residual heat.

Lastly, the soup is removed from the heat and chopped coriander and a scoop of tamarind is added. To garnish and add extra flavour and texture toasted cashews are scattered over each bowl and a swirl of vegan cream can be added. But the cream is optional.

So simple but tasty and impressive enough to have as a dinner party starter or main. Or serve as a wider Indian themed food spread. So good.

This recipe will provide 3 large bowls or 4 smaller but good-sized portions. I usually get 4 portions but others may have larger appetites! The recipe is easily doubled to make extra portions.

blue bowl with gold rim full of tamarind chickpea soup, lemon slices to side.

Recipe Notes And FAQs

Is this soup gluten-free?

Yes. This soup can be easily made gluten-free. Just ensure that your vegan stock and any flavourings added are gluten-free.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Leftovers can be kept fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or frozen for up to 4 months.

Reheat leftovers by placing in a saucepan and gently bringing to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot.

If liked, add a little extra tamarind paste to the reheated soup and extra chopped coriander.

I can’t find any tamarind paste in my local stores. Can I substitute it?

I’ve provided a few suggestions for substitutions although the soup will taste different depending on which one you choose. And the soup won’t be a tamarind chickpea soup, but it will still be tasty.

If your soup becomes too sour add extra pinches of sugar until it balances out to your liking:

* tbsp of lemon juice
* tbsp of mango chutney
* tbsp of apricot jam
* tbsp of mint pickle
* tbsp of pomegranate molasses
* tbsp of lime juice
* tbsp of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

What can I serve with Tamarind soup?

A few ideas:

*3 ingredient vegan flatbreads
* traditional Scottish oatcakes
* vegan naan breads
* crackers
* lentil crisps/chips
* crispy tofu bites
* sandwich
* boiled rice
* sweet potato fries/chips/wedges
* vegan pakora/samosas
* mango chutney
* Indian mint pickle
* tamarind chutney
* lemon wedges

Two bowls of chickpea soup with small pan of cashews, lemon wedge to side, naan breads, all placed on grey tray.

Tamarind Chickpea Soup

Print Recipe
A quick and easy soup packed full of delicious Indian inspired flavours, fresh veggies and chickpeas.
Topped with toasted cashews and a swirl of vegan cream.
Lunch just got better!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4
Calories 272
Author Jacq


  • Large saucepan/soup-pan
  • Small pan to toast cashews, optional


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds also known as black onion/black cumin/kalonji seeds
  • 1 medium red onion cubed
  • 1 medium carrot cubed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • tsp chilli flakes or 1 small green fresh chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder granules, or 1-2 minced fresh garlic cloves
  • 135 g potato 1 medium, cubed
  • 120 g cooked chickpeas 1/2 400g/14oz can drained.
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes or 400g passata/ or tomato sauce (in packet, jar, or can, not tomato ketchup!)
  • 750 ml vegan stock use vegan 'chicken' stock if available.
  • ½ tsp sugar any sugar is fine, such as granulated, soft brown, date, coconut, jaggery, etc. Plus salt and pepper to taste

After cooking:

  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste/puree
  • 3 tbsp coriander cilantro, chopped. Plus extra for garnish if liked.
  • 60 g cashews, toasted or plain rough chopped and pan toasted if liked. Simply dry fry in a small fry pan for a few minutes over medium-high heat, shaking to avoid burning and to evenly lightly toast. Sprinkle a little salt over the cashews in the pan. Alternatively use flaked almonds, peanuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • 4 tbsp vegan cream or vegan plain yogurt, optional


  • Heat the olive oil and over a medium heat add the fennel and nigella seeds. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the onions. Mix.
    Cook for 5-6 minutes, stir frequently
  • Add turmeric, paprika, dried garlic, chilli flakes or fresh chilli if using. Stir through.
  • Tip in the carrots, potato and chickpeas. Mix.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and vegan stock.
  • Season with a little salt and pepper, and the sugar.
  • Bring to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes. The potatoes and carrots should be soft.
  • (Meanwhile toast the cashews if using)
  • Remove from the heat and mix though the chopped coriander and tamarind. Leave to sit for a few minutes before dishing up.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon of cream over each bowl or add a scoop of yogurt, optional but so tasty.
    Sprinkle the cashews over each bowl.


  • Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is analysed using computerized nutritional apps. Calculation includes 4 tbsp of vegan cream.
  • To lower the sodium content use a low-salt vegan stock.
  • To reduce the fat and calorie values replace the olive oil with 1/2-3/4 of a cup of vegan stock.
  • This recipe will make 4 good sized bowls but for hungrier and bigger appetites the recipe will be enough for 3 large bowls. The recipe is easy to double up and make extra portions.
  • Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Or frozen for up to 4 months.
  • Reheat leftovers by pouring in a saucepan, bringing to the boil, lower heat to a simmer, and reheat 2-3 minutes until piping hot.
  • For a more substantial meal serve the soup over some cooked rice, or serve with chapatis or flat breads.


Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1058mg | Potassium: 629mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3149IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg

Looking for more tasty, vegan, warming soup ideas?

Vegan chicken noodle soup

Traditional Scottish lentil soup

Loaded taco bean soup

Creamy sweet potato and red lentil lasagna soup

Cream of kale and celery

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