Ramadan special: Lentil soup

Lentil soup is a must on Rmadan table in most Arabic countries. It is a perfect start .... (Deja vu! I feel I started all my Ramadan specials with the same sentence but to be honest what makes these dishes relevant to Ramadan is the same thing; soft, warm and easy to eat after a day of starving).

Syrian cuisine (Leventine in general) is poor when it comes to the soup department. Apart from lentil soup, chicken and vermicelli soup is the only other soup that I can truly call authentic native soup (I am sure my Jewish friends will have few words to say about this one!).


There are many different recipes to cook lentil soup. Some only use lentils and water, some add other vegetables, some use stock, some add vermicelli.... Experiment! try different things and see which way you like it.

I cook mine with few vegetables and serve it with bread croutons and a squeeze of a lemon. Most people fry some chopped onion till brown and add to the soup just before serving. I don't do that. I think this works fine with pure lentil and water soup but if you add vegetables like I do the flavours clash.

Here is my lentil soup recipe:

Red lentils 400g
Rice 50g (replace with a small potato)
One quarter of a medium onion
One carrot
One tomato
Ground cumin 1/2 tea spoon
Salt to taste
Water 1L
Arabic bread
Vegetable oil

Peel your tomato. It is very easy to do. Cross the bottom of the tomato with a knife then drop in a boiling water for few second. The skin should come off easy. Check this video to see how.

Peel and chop your vegetable. Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to boil. Skim the surface if necessary. Lower the heat and cook for 30 - 45 minutes or till everything is fully cooked (over cooked is even better)

Use a blender for a smooth soup consistency. Add more water if the soup is too thick.

Cut your bread to squares or thin strips and fry in the oil till golden.

Serve the soup with the bread croutons and a wedge of lemon.

Sorry there is no photo of the finished soup but my cat Anwar dropped my camera and broke it. Here is a photo of the little criminal instead!

12 comments:

Allie said...

That's too bad about your camera, but the criminal is beautiful!

Ha! You're right - we Jews do truly love and obsess over our chicken soup, don't we?

Taste of Beirut said...

I love the cat! does he walk on your keyboard? does he play fetch? does he get annoyed when you don't play with him? that's probably why he broke the camera.

Joy said...

But your cat looks so innocent!
I do hope you get a new camera soon. I LOVE lentil soups and I love your simple classic recipe for it.

Kano said...

@Allie
I needed an excuse to go buy a new expensive camera to improve the quality of my photos. Now he gave me that excuse!
You know I never tried a genuine Jewish chicken soup. Every time I go to a kosher Jewish restaurant I can't help myself but order salt beef (I think it is called corned beef in The States). I love the stuff.

Kano said...

@Joumana @Jay
Don't let the innocent look fool you, he is a proper criminal!
He is so cheeky. Every time I am trying to use my laptop he comes and sits on the keyboard. Taking photographs is a mission with him around. So I can only work on my blog when he is asleep.
After all of that he comes and play all cute and innocent :)

Nora said...

Mmm, I love lentil soup. I make a similar one but I've never had it with croutons, so I'll have to give that a try!

Kano said...

@Nora
what spice (if any) do you use in your lentil soup?

Allie said...

Oooo... I just love corned beef too. Yum!

Have you gotten a new camera yet?

I think just about every family makes the soup differently. My mother always boiled the whole chicken for a while, then would take it out of the liquid, cut up the meat, put that back in the liquid (with more water), and add carrots, cut onion, a whole onion, cut potatoes (usually she cut large potatoes into big pieces) a few peppercorns, salt and a bay leaf or two. She'd let that cook for a while, then twenty or so minutes before she was ready for us to eat she'd throw in some celery, and pasta or rice and skim most of the fat. I remember sometimes there being tomato in there too. And occasionally she'd put in whole wheat berries, but now she always uses the wheat berries. I can't really remember how my grandmother made it. I mostly remember her massive breakfast spreads.

I do it totally differently now, because I am lazy. Her soup usually took all day to make, and my school schedule is too hectic. So now I usually do it similarly to one of these two ways (though it's different each time):

http://seidhr.blogspot.com/2008/03/jewish-penicillin.html

http://seidhr.blogspot.com/2008/12/hearty-winter-soup.html

Kano said...

Hi Allie

Thanks for the recipes.

Still no camera. I want to by an SLR with a good lens but that is going to cost me few hundred pounds so I think I will buy a small digital camera for day to day use and the SLR on a later stage.

gastrogeek said...

Anwar is TOO CUTE!

Ahluuul said...

I tried this last night and it turned out great, really tasty and easier than my previous version! My husband commented on the new subtle taste of 'my' lentil soup, hehe.

Kano said...

@Ahluuul
WElcome to my blog. I hope you will have a chance to try many other recipes.

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