Palestinian lentil soup ~ smooth, flavoursome and simple to make!
The past month’s MENA Cooking Club challenge was to cook a dish or dishes from Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين Filasṭīn, Falasṭīn, Filisṭīn; Greek: Παλαιστίνη, Palaistinē; Latin: Palaestina; Hebrew: פלשתינה Palestina).
Members had the choice of Musakan – Sumac Chicken with onions, Shorbet Adas – Lentil Soup and Kunafe Nabulsia – Sticky Pastry made of gooey sweet cheese sandwiched between layers of shredded kunafe pastry from the Palestinian city of Nablus.
As with most of the MENA Cooking Club challenges I cook a dish from the given country first then do my research later, which doesn’t always serve me well as happens here which I will allude to.
My Palestinian Lentil Soup recipe made with olive oil, red lentils, onions, flavoured with saffron, cumin, thickened with rice and then a squeeze of lemon juice at the end is barely adapted from this recipe here. I halved the ingredient quantities and reduced the cooking time slightly to make fewer portions. Also I finished the soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (my favourite oil in the kitchen) and a sprinkle of cumin.
Less than 10 ingredients to the soup (not including S&P) but it seems according to wikipedia authentic Palestinian lentil soup may not even contain such spices as saffron and cumin?
Adas is a healthy lentil soup, common in the Middle East. Unlike other parts of the Middle East, Palestinians do not incorporate yogurt or other ingredients into this soup. Rather, it is made with lentils and chopped onions and served with sliced onions and bread on the side.
Maybe I’ve misunderstood or more plausible as seems the case with every dish ever created, the ingredients will vary from region to region even house to house according to taste, availability and affordability of ingredients. For example, I found another very similar Palestinian lentil soup recipe online that uses turmeric instead of saffron. Turmeric is a good alternative if you can’t find / afford saffron, it hasn’t the same superior taste but for colour purposes in my opinion turmeric equals if not outdoes saffron.
Palestinian lentil soup is one of those recipes that proves you only need a few, quality ingredients, cooked simply to make a very delicious meal.
You can eat the soup warm on a winter’s day or as is my case serve at room temp on an overcast summer’s day along with some equally tasty homemade Middle Eastern flatbread.
Smooth, flavoursome and easy to make!
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 large onions, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for sprinkling
- small pinch of saffron
- 1/2 cup split red lentils, washed
- 1/2 maggi chicken stock cube
- 875ml or 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon basmati rice, washed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil, onion and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent, stir occasionally.
- Stir in the spices (including black pepper) then add lentils, water and 1/2 stock cube. Increase heat until the soup begins to boil then reduce to low medium, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
- Add rice to pot, stir, recover pot and allow soup to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer soup to a medium-large non-metallic bowl and puree the soup with a hand blender. Stir in the lemon juice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of ground cumin.
for a healthier soup, replace stock cube and water with 3 1/2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock and adjust seasoning accordingly.