How to Make It
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes longer.
Add the chickpeas, broth, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. Add the vermicelli and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the browned pasta with a slotted spoon; add it to the soup along with the romaine. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 5 minutes.
Variations We originally made this soup with Swiss chard. When it came time to retest, we were out of chard but had plenty of romaine; we used that and liked the soup even better. Swiss chard still makes a fine substitution, though, as does spinach.