After breaking fast with dates and/or water, Chorba Freek to me is the epitome of the breaking fast meal. Especially here in Algeria, no table seems complete without it during Ramadan.
Algeria has a wide variety of soups including Harira & Chorba Bayda ‘white soup’. The one I think is the best? Chorba Freek. I’ve made it many times and it has appeared twice on the blog already – here and here.
While I stand by those recipes. The recipe I present now is my new favourite and very close to the way my Algerian mother in law makes freekeh soup i.e. it’s traditional.
The root of the name freekeh comes from the Arabic verb;فرك farak ‘rub’.
The flavours of slightly smoky nutty freekeh with sweet tomato and cinnamon, fresh vibrant mint and coriander. It’s really lovely, you have to try it!
Chorba frik is often served at weddings. At least every Algerian wedding I’ve been to, which is not that many. Still I think it’s safe to say freekeh soup is loved by the masses.
I can imagine people looking at this and thinking “soup in summer?!” Well, during Ramadan we don’t eat the soup piping hot as we do in winter, instead we serve it warm. Plus soups are a different way of getting water into the body, which really is essential after a day fasting. One thing I notice about the photos is there are no glasses of water/juice etc on the table. Clearly I wasn’t in full Ramadan mode.
Another essential Ramadan recipe for me is Hmiss / Salade Mechouia – grilled pepper salad. Recipe to follow…in shaa Allah
Soak freekeh in a bowl of hot water while prepping vegetables etc.
In a soup pot, brown chicken with salt in oil over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until softened then add garlic, spices, tomato paste and fresh coriander stem and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
Add freekeh, veg and water. Bring upto a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 mins then turn off heat.
Carefully remove chicken and veg.
Blend the vegetables with a ladle of soup then return puree to the soup. (be careful you may wish to allow veg to cool slightly first if for example you are using a stick blender)
Allow chicken to cool slightly then shred meat off the bone and put back in soup.
Re-heat soup and if too thick, add more boiled water to thin it out. Stir in chopped fresh coriander and mint. Serve if you like with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and maybe a little harissa (North African red pepper paste)
- You may use a medium size onion and 2 small-medium garlic cloves.
- I didn’t use measuring spoons for the spices. I used a regular teaspoon therefore, the quantities are approximate, adjust as per your taste.
- Remember spices bought in Algeria (and elsewhere in North Africa & Middle East) from the ‘souk’/market are often stronger in flavour as they are often freshly ground, therefore you don’t need to use as much in your food. Plus from what I’ve experienced, my Algerian in-laws don’t use a great deal of spice in their cooking and the food still ends up tasting great!