Archive for the ‘Soups’ 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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This is indeed a delicacy in Yemen. The feet are prepared in two different ways. One is to burn the hair off them and leave the feet intact — maybe bend and break at the joints. The other is to strip the layer of the skin with the hair as is done in this recipe. It needs muscle so use a sharp knife and get your husband to help. Let’s start and before we do remember the magic word “Bismillah”. You will need:

1) sheep feet cleaned

2) 2 cloves of garlic minced

3) 1/4 tsp of tumeric

4) 1 tsp of ground cumin

5) 1 tsp of ground coriander

6) Salt to taste

7) 1 tsp of red chilly sauce [Bisbas Ahmar Adani]

In a pressure cooker boil 5 cups of water. Once it comes to a boil add the sheep feet. Remove the foam that rises to the surface. Then add the garlic, spices and salt. Close the lid to the pressure cooker and leave on medium high for 1 hour and a 1/2 to 2 hours. The meat around the sheep feet should be so tender that they fall apart. As a friend of mine says until the meat says, “No chewing required. Just swallow.” Serve hot with slices of lemon and break.

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You knew it was tomato season in Aden/Yemen when my mum made this delicious soup. Since I moved to Montgomery/ AL I have been scouting the local farmers markets for fresh vegetables and fruit, and it always seems like tomatoes are in season. So, I think I am going to make this soup often. I simply love it. So, let’s start with the magic word “Bismillah”. You will need [for 3 servings]:

1) 4 large tomatoes [red and ripe]

2) 1/4 stick of butter

3) 1 and 1/2 tsp of cumin [I prefer to buy cumin seeds, roast them and coarsely grind them]

4) 1/4 tsp of fresh ground black pepper

5) salt to taste

4) 2 tblsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

5) 1 and 1/2 tblsp of white flour

In a pot bring some water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn it off , slit the tomatoes and leave them in the water for 15 minutes or until you are able to peel the skin off easily. Place them in a blender with 1/2 cup of warm water and blend well. In a pot, under medium low heat melt the butter and mix in the flour to make a rue. Then add the cumin and leave for another minute or so. Then add the blended tomatoes, salt, and pepper and let boil until it thickens to the consistency you like. Usually 15 minutes. Then add the Olive Oil, mix in and serve hot garnished with chopped chives/green onions/or cilantro. Enjoy!

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Maraq [Yemeni Soup]

This is standard Yemeni soup. You will practically be ordering this if you ask for “Maraq” in a Yemeni restaurant, anywhere in the world. It’s served with fresh slices of lemon or lime that’s squeezed in for more flavor. We also make some “hulba” [fenugreek] on the side and then take a spoonful and mix it it as well.

You will need [serves 2]:

1) lamb/goat meat with bone in 1/4 of a pound for 2 [or two pieces of your choice]

2) salt to taste

3) 1/8 tsp of fresh ground pepper

4) 1/8 of tsp of tumeric

5) 1/2 tsp of ground cumin

6) 1/2 tsp of ground coriander

7) 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon

8 ) clove of garlic finely minced

9) 1 small onion finely minced

10) 2 tbslp of finely chopped cilantro

12) 1/8 tsp of ground cardamon [or two pods cracked open]

13) slices of lemon or lime on the side to serve with the soup

14) 2 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into big pieces

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the meat and remove the foam that collects on the surface. Cover and let boil until the meat is tender. You can also use a pressure cooker if you’re in a hurry, to cut down cooking time.

You should be left with about 4 cups of stock that you can make the soup with–if not then add a little more water and let boil for another 10 minutes. Add  the fresh ground pepper, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, clove of garlic finely, onion,  chopped cilantro,  ground cardamon and salt. Also add the carrots or other vegetables you have on hand. Just make sure you add vegetables that take longer to cook earlier than those that take a few minutes to cook. Let simmer under medium heat, until the vegetables are cooked through, but still retain their shape. Spoon out the meat and vegetables into serving bowls and  pour the soup through as sieve and directly into the bowls and serve immediately. This soup is usually served before a meal in Yemen.

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Broccoli Soup

Easy and quick soup! You will need:

1)  3 cups of broccoli florets [make sure they are green and firm]

2) salt to taste

3) pepper

4) sour cream for garnish

Fill a pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Season the water with salt. When it coming to a rolling boil add the broccoli florets and cover immediately. Covering it will help retain the green-ness of the broccoli. Boil for 5 minutes, or until softened [knife runs through]. Drain of water, but make sure to keep some water aside to use while blending. In a blender place the boiled  broccoli florets and add 1/2 cup of water [more if you want it runnier]. I like it a little thick. Blend well. Season with pepper and more salt is needed. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream. It goes well with goat cheese and walnuts. Here’s a video of the recipe by Chef Gordon Ramsey.

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Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup


My husband is a very picky eater, but he slurped this soup Maa Sha Allah. He surprised me.  It’s very easy to make, and a must for Fall. It’s very filling. Goes well with your favorite garlic bread for a quick lunch, or late night supper.

You will need:

1) 1 small acorn squash

2) 1 small butternut squash

3) 2 cans of chicken stock [more if you like it thinner]

4) salt to taste

5) 1/4 tsp of fresh ground pepper

6) 3 pinches of nutmeg. More if you like.

7) 1/4 tsp red chilly pepper

8) 1/2 stick of butter

9) 2 tblsp of olive oil

10) 2 tblsp of finely chopped cilantro for garnish [you may use parsley as well if you prefer ]

 For roasting the seeds:

1) 1tsp of extra virgin olive oil

2) salt to taste

3) sprinkle of black pepper [optional]

4) sprinkle of tumeric powder

5) sprinkle of cumin power

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut open the squash and remove seeds but keep aside. Cut the squash into quarters. Toss in some extra virgin and arrange on baking sheet and bake in oven until soft. When it has softened, remove from oven and let cool. Peel. In a pot melt the butter and add the squash pieces and sautee for a few minutes. Remove and spoon into blender with the chicken broth [or if you have one of those hand held blenders blend in the pot while adding the chicken broth]. You want it nice and smooth. Place back in the pot, add the nutmeg, chilly powder, salt and pepper and let boil for a 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, toss the seeds with all the seasonings listed above and spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven, until golden brown.

spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and roasted seeds. Goes well with garlic bread.

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