Fennel Soup with Chickpea Cakes

For a satisfying meat-free meal, try Elisha Carter's creamy fennel soup with crisp golden chickpea cakes
Fennel Soup with Chickpea Cakes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the fennel soup

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200 ml double cream
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chickpea cakes

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunches spring onions, white part only, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1x400 g cancooked chickpeas, drained and pureed
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 handfuls coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, boiled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten, for the coating
  • 3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs, for the coating
  • 500 ml vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • dried spaghetti, optional, for the garnish


1. To make the soup, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the vegetables until softened but not coloured. Add the fennel seeds and the star anise.

2. Pour in the stock and cook the vegetables for a further 5-10 minutes. They should be completely soft by now. Stir in the cream.

3. Transfer the mixture to a blender and pulse until smooth. Pass through a strainer and season to taste. Leave on one side while you make the dumplings.

4. For the dumplings, in a separate saucepan, heat the oil and fry the spring onion and garlic over a low heat for about a minute. Tip the onion mixture into a large bowl and add the chick peas, cumin, coriander seeds, chilli and the chopped coriander.

5. Add the potato and beaten egg, and taste for seasoning.

6. Roll the dumpling mixture into balls, about the size of a fifty-pence coin, and chill in the fridge for roughly 1 hour.

7. Roll each dumpling in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and coat with the breadcrumbs.

8. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C, and fry the dumplings, in batches, until golden.

9. Deep-fry the spaghetti strands (if using) in the same oil, and thread the cooked dumplings onto the crisp spaghetti strands. Alternatively, simply place the cooked dumplings in soup bowls, pour over the piping hot soup, and serve straight away.

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