1.Soak chickpeas overnight in a medium bowl of cold water. Drain; rinse well.
2. Soak saffron in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water.
3.Cut a shallow cross in the base of tomatoes; place in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water, stand for 30 seconds; drain. Remove skins and discard; purée flesh in a blender.
4.Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, celery, ground spices and saffron with soaking liquid, stirring for 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add puréed tomatoes, the water and chickpeas; bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low; simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Add lentils; simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes or until lentils and chickpeas are tender. Season with salt.
5.Stir half the herbs through soup. Divide soup among bowls; serve topped with remaining herbs.
You will need to start this recipe the day before.Note