Libyan shorba- Soup

When we lived in Seattle many years ago, I had friends from Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and numerous other countries.  I ate at their homes for dinner parties and breaking fast in Ramadan. I observed the traditions and tried to be a gracious guest, eating what they served and taking in the amazing flavors. Many times I asked for a recipe and a cooking lesson would follow! Soup is something that most people make for breaking fast. This soup was served at several Iftar (Ramadan dinners). I don’t know it’s name except shorba which means “soup”. This is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

1/2 pound stew beef cut into little pieces

1 small can tomato paste

1 can garbanzo beans-chick peas

1/2 cup orzo noodles

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1 tsp. dry mint

1 tsp. dry parsley

1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

salt to taste

pepper- amount desired, I put just a dash

1 onion chopped small

3 garlic cloves sliced

15 cups water

Directions

Put a few spoons of olive oil in a large pan and add onion and garlic, saute.

Add beef and water, bring to a boil.

Lower heat and cover, let soup continue to low boil until meat is done.

Add tomato paste and mix in well. Add salt, cumin, cinnamon and pepper.

Continue simmering, add garbanzo beans to soup.

Let this simmer to get the flavors mixed.

Add the orzo and let this cook until done, add parsley and mix in.

When soup is done, turn heat off and sprinkle mint on top.

Let set a few minutes to get this beautiful mint flavor infused into the soup.

Soup is usually eaten with bread, and sprinkled with a little

fresh lemon juice.

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Algerian vegetable soup

When we lived on the compound in Riyadh I had several friends from Morocco and Algeria. After attending dinners where this soup was served I asked one of my friends for the recipe. It is a light tomato soup with lots of spices. One of the ingredients in this soup is a grain that I could not find in my area so I substituted oats which I have also noticed in a couple of soups.

Ingredients

1 potato

1 green bell pepper

1 carrot

1 onion chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 cup green cabbage

2 tomatoes

1 zucchini

10 cups water

1/2  tsp.  of each: cinnamon, turmeric, allspice, cumin

1 tsp. salt or to taste

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 cup oats

1 small can tomato paste

cilantro, washed, chopped

Directions

Peel potatoes, zucchini and carrot.

Peel onion and chop

Wash vegetables and chop into chunks

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Put water in a large pan and add tomato paste, whisk well, add spices and vegetables. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and cover. Let this low boil for approximately 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Turn off heat and let the stock cool a little. Carefully remove the vegetables from the soup with a slotted spoon and place in a dish or pan that is appropriate for hot food.  Let them cool a bit in the way that best works for you so that they can be blended in a food processor.

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Blend them in a food processor (you should have a tiny bit of liquid with them to make it easy to blend) pour carefully back into stock and stir. Bring to a boil and add 1/2 cup oats. Let this lightly boil, cover and cook for the next 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When soup is done, turn off heat and sprinkle chopped cilantro on top. If you do not care for cilantro this can be optional.

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