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Archive for the ‘Red Meat’ Category


This is a staple during Ramadan. Very hearty soup, that is a meal in and of itself. In Sana’a they make it sweet and they add milk. But in Aden ours is very different and we make it either plain which we call  Shurbah Baydha which literally means “White Soup”  or we add a red sauce to it that we make with onions, tomatoes and spices and hence call it Shurbah Hamra meaning “Red Soup”. So here’s the recipe for the plain one. Insha Allah will post the red one, which is not my favorite. This one, on the other hand is very much my favorite in Ramadan and the rest of the year. Let’s start Bismillah. You will need:

1) 1/2 pound of lamb cut into small pieces with bone in [you can also use chicken which will cut down the cooking time]

2) 2 cups of rolled oats [or you can use Old Fashioned Quaker Oats]

3) 3 sticks of cinnamon

4) 1/2 tblsp of peppercorns

5) 1/2 tsp of curry powder

6) 1/2 of a medium onion finely chopped

7) 1 small tomato finely chopped

8) Salt to taste

For garnish: fry some onions in a little oil until golden brown or darker [according to taste] and traditional Yemeni ghee or  olive oil.

In a pot add water to cover the meat completely and place under medium high heat [about 4 cups]. Remove the froth that collects on the surface as the meat starts to boil. Then add the peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, curry powder, onion, tomatoes and salt and let boil for about 20 minutes. If the water has evaporated some, add 1 cup or so. Then add the oats and mix well and cover and let boil under medium low heat. I also like to transfer it to the oven and let it slow cook in there at 350 degrees fahrenheit until the meat is tender. If you place it in the oven make sure you check on it every 15 minutes and stir. If it is too thick add some more water. I like mine thick so I add less water to maintain the thick consistency. But in Yemen there are many who like theirs thinner, so they add more water. So it depends on your taste. Once the meat is tender, that means the soup is cooked and ready to serve. Serve hot with the fried onions and a little ghee or olive oil. Note: we don’t add garlic to this soup probably because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not approach our mosque, because whatever offends the sons of Adam may offend the angels” (Muslim). And since this soup is eaten in Ramadan particularly, just before Maghreb [sunset prayer],  garlic is avoided. The onion on the other hand is totally lost in this soup–you can neither smell it or taste it. You will see for yourselves once you make it insha Allah.

*You can even make this in a pressure cooker as well if you want to cut back on cooking time.

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My husband Khaled cooks for me once a year. The very first time he made this Kabsah [it’s the only thing he really makes besides steak] I was blown away with its deliciousness. It is quick, easy and does not sacrifice taste.  When I am crunched for time, this is what I usually make. I asked him where he learnt this and he told at the Yemeni Bachelor pad he stayed in before we got married. He added, “We made it every day! Different person every day but the same recipe.” What makes it convenient is that you can use any spice mix for this, but Hawayej Shirkah [mixture of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and sometimes turmeric] is the one typically used by Yemenis for this one. I am sure before Yemeni brothers migrate from Yemen their mothers, sisters or wives send them with a big bag of this mixed spice.  But you can use any spice mix–Garam Masala or even Biryani mixes work equally well. They usually use one pot that they can start on the stove and then place in the oven.

You will need [serves 4] :

1) 1 chicken or 1 lb of lamb cut into medium pieces. If you are using lamb then boil it until it is well done.

2) 1 cup and a 1/2 of rice half boiled [which means boiled until almost done, but not quite]

3) 1 tsp and a 1/2 of the spice mix of your choice

4) 2 clovers of garlic roughly crushed

5) 1 tomato roughly chopped

6) 1 green chilly pepper roughly chopped

7) 1 tblsp  of cilantro roughly chopped

8) 2 medium potatoes quartered

9) yellow / orange rice coloring

10) medium onion roughly chopped into slices

11) 2-3 tbslp of oil

Alright let’s begin! In the pot, under medium high heat, add the onion slices and let brown a little. Then add the oil and potatoes. When the onion has browned, add the meat, garlic, spice, tomatoes, green chilly, and cilantro. Let cook for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup of water and let cook until the potato is almost done [but not quite]. Layer all the rice on top. Sprinkle a little of the food coloring and about 2 tbslp of water and place in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s done. Serve hot with your favorite salad.

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