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Chourba Aâdess | Algerian lentil soup

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته


With the cold weather still in abundance, January is the perfect month to celebrate and enjoy soup of all kinds.

From thick, creamy, calorie laden chunky soup, to the water-based and healthier broth or consommé, and the vegetable-laden chili and gazpacho, almost every country around the world has it’s own special recipe.

It is thought that soup could trace back as far as the Neolithic Age, with evidence suggesting that people who should have died out through natural selection were kept alive for a long time before the discovery of Milk, which was later used to keep such people alive. Soup seems the most likely way to nourish these people – perhaps a broth made of boiling water and meat.

Today, I would like to share one soup traditionally prepared in Algeria during the colder months. It has a base of lamb or beef and is rich in vitamins and iron. It is often served in hospitals for sick patients. This soup can be made vegetarian if you like, by omitting the meat altogether. It's a meal  in itself as it's very filling and nourishing. I usually serve this soup with Algerian bread or stuffed 'batbout' bread as shown in the picture.

Chourba Aâdess
- Algerian lentil soup

Yield: 5-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes (active)  | 60 minutes (inactive) | Cook Time: 45 minutes - 1 hour

  • about 500g lamb or beef ( bone- in meat, defatted)
  • 1 cup - 250g brown lentils (I use Puy)
  • 1 large onion, diced fine
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced fine
  • 2 carrots, diced fine
  • 1-2 potatoes, cubed 
  • 1 courgette, small dice (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika and ground cumin
  • Hot pepper or harissa (to taste)
  • handful of cilantro and parsely, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • small pinch of dried ginger powder
  • harissa to taste
  • olive oil/ salt/black pepper/ water
  • Handful of rice or vermicelli (optional)
  • lemon
  1. Soak the lentils in water for at least one hour.
  2. Sauté the meat and onion and celery in olive oil.
  3. Add in about one and half liter of water.
  4. Add in the seasonings and herbs.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower the fire.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
  7. Now add in the lentils.
  8. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  9. Stir occasionally.
  10. Add in the courgettes now, if you like to use them. And also the rice/vermicelli pasta.
  11. Turn up the heat slightly and cook for another 5 m or until the rice/pasta is cooked.
Serve with lemon on the side and generous amounts of warmed bread.

۞ Cook's Note: You can replace the meat with a vegetable or chicken stock cube if you like.

Stay tuned for the recipe for Batbout farci .... and also another lentil dish, a stew called   à Aâdess marqa (lentils with sauce).

What soups do you like to curl up with one cold winter days?

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    5. Hello from Los Angeles where I'm enjoying your delicious soup! Thanks so much for all of the work and love you put into your blog!

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