Halabessa (Chickpea Soup)


I don’t know what can I call it exactly! It’s chickpeas swimming in a deliciously spiced soup.

You enjoy eating the chickpeas as much as you enjoy drinking its soup. It’s one of the few official winter drinks that are sold on every corner in Egypt, especially in Cafes, clubs, street carts & of course in every house!

What is Halabessa?

Halabessa or Chickpeas soup, or chickpeas drink or Hummus elsham is a soup, usually served in cups with straws. It is made with chickpeas boiled with tomato, onion, garlic, and lots of spices.

You get it in a cup, with a spoon to eat chickpeas and a straw to drink the soup. It is a healthy vegan option that keeps you full and warm at night.

Halabessa is sold in mini kiosks right by the sea or the Nile. The kiosks are usually decorated with colorful lights and Arabic calligraphy, and they also play classic Egyptian music.

All of the above, along with the spicy taste of Halabessa, make up a perfect atmosphere for a cold Egyptian night.

Eating this Chickpeas soup is often more about the experience than just about the food.

Halabessa Recipe

It is a super easy, vegan, healthy (rich in protein), and an exotic dish that takes no more than twenty minutes to put together, but makes a comforting, warming, winter soup.

You can add your favorite spices to it, and enjoy your taste .

It’s made of dried chickpeas that you have to soak overnight in water, to make it easier in digestion & to take less cooking time.

You can also use the precooked chickpeas sold in cans & the outcome is always the same!

Using the ready made chickpeas in cans makes it ready in nearly 15 minutes. Just boil in water with tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices and it’s done !

Be Sure to Try These Other Egyptian Dishes!

Here’s the very easy recipe that kids too love.

Halabesa: Homus Alsham: Egyptian Chickpeas Soup: حلبسة او حمص الشام

Chef Vivian Farid
A winter drink that is going to warm and fill you up as well.
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Drinks, Soup
Cuisine Egyptian
Servings 4
Calories 151 kcal


  • 2 cups of chickpeas
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cube of vegetable bouillon organic, low sodium and GMO free
  • 1 grated tomato
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste


  • Soak the dry chickpeas in cold water overnight. The second day, drain, rinse, and set aside.
  • Make the soup. Add six cups of water to a heavy bottom large pan, add the bouillon and stir until the bouillon is totally dissolved. Toss in the crushed garlic, grated tomatoes, cumin, black pepper. Bring the broth to a gentle simmer for five minutes. Add the chickpeas and let the soup simmer further until the chickpeas are almost cooked through. Toss in the tomato paste, and stir to dilute it in the broth. Add the lemon, the salt and adjust the seasoning. When the chickpeas are cooked through, turn off the heat.
  • Serve the Halabesa hot in tall glasses with extra wedges of lemon or lime and dry pepper flakes or tabasco sauce.


This soup is best made from scratch with dry chickpeas. Soaking the chickpeas in cold water overnight is a must, before boiling the chickpeas in the broth.


Calories: 151kcal
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