Chilpachole de Jaiba Soup

Maneet Chauhan

Morph Hospitality Group, Nashville, TN

This spicy crab and lentil soup was served by Maneet Chauhan and Rohini Dey at the Beard House. The deep, complex flavor of the soup results from the combination of chiles, spices, and crab typical of the chefs' Indian-Latin fusion cuisine. It is delicious served either hot or cold.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 slice ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 teaspoons small whole red chile, stem ends removed
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red chile power
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup small yellow or pink lentil
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 cups fish or vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • Juice from 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh poblano pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a 4- or 5-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté for a minute or two until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the cumin seed, black peppercorns, and red chiles and cook, while stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes more. Add the chopped poblano peppers and the jalapeño and sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the ground chile powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander and cook until the mixture gives off the aroma of toasted spices. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.

Stir in the crabmeat, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the stock, cilantro, and salt. Bring back to a boil, turn down the heat, set the cover ajar, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils have burst. Using an immersion or regular blender, purée the soup until it becomes a thick, rich bisque. Adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, to prepare the garnish, mix together the lump crabmeat with the lime juice, cilantro, poblano, salt, and pepper to make a light salad. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the crab mixture. The soup can also be served chilled.


6 servings