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Chourba Frik maâ Fougaâ | Algerian Green Wheat Soup with Mushrooms

Flavourful twist to this famous east Algerian soup, perfect for your Ramadan table or on cold days.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Ramadan Moubarek to everyone who observe the Islamic fast!

Ramadan fare in North Africa? Chourba, of course!  Soup is an unavoidable and omnipresent starter on every Ramadan iftar dinner table worldwide, but in North Africa - Algeria it's a culinary tradition.

It can be said that the Chourba is the culinary emblem of Algeria as much as the Harira is for Morocco, but as emblematic as these soups are, they weren't born there. 

Chourba was imported into Algeria by the Turkish invaders in the 16th century. In the Ottoman army, this soup was particularly important in the Janissary corps where the çorbaci (literally "soup man") was a military rank equivalent to the rank of colonel. From Turkey, it has spread throughout the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and the Maghreb.

In Turkey: Čorba, in Iran: chourba (شوربا), in Afghanistan: chorwa (شوروا), in Romania: ciorbă, in Kyrgyzstan: chorpo (шорпо), in Russia: churpa (шурпа), in Kazakhstan sorpa (сорпа) Central Asia chorpa (شورپا).

In the Maghreb, Chourba with it's many variations is widely consumed in Algeria, but also in Tunisia, Morocco and Libya.

To each region of Algeria its recipe, depending on whether one is in the center, east, west or south. Recipes and variants are counted by dozens.

It is traditionally made from sheep or lamb but can sometimes be substituted for beef or poultry depending on recipes and regions.

In the capital, Algiers, we speak more of Chourba hamra makfta and  Chourba Hamra F'daouech (red chorba with vermicelli), which alone has several variants: with courgettes, aubergines, fresh beans, potatoes, peas or with several vegetables that time.

To the east of the country, the most consumed is the Chourba Beïda also known as Djari abyad (white chourba). It is prepared with chicken, or with minced meat, the most important being lemon and eggs at the end of the preparation, a preparation that will not be without reminding us the Greek soup Avgolemono.

There are also Chourba tchicha (barley semolina), Bouillon (vegetable soup), Lsan el asfour (with bird tongues), Chourba foul (with dried beans), and Chourba frik (crushed green wheat), which are widely consumed in all the countries.

Chourba frik is one of my utmost favourite Algerian soups. This soup varies very little from region to region. It is prepared with beef, sheep or lamb meat, in pieces, sometimes with added morsels of chicken or with meatballs added in, with or without chickpeas, but without ever omitting coriander, mint and ... frik ... Frik is chic you know ;)

If for me the frik was a discovery for me when I came to Algeria. Frik known as freekah is used in Middle Eastern cooking, but I hadn't worked with it before. 

For this recipe, I changed up my usual Chourba frik recipe by only using beef instead of lamb and chicken then I  added some buttom mushrooms for a more flavourful and hearty taste. It worked out well. Reminded me of Beef, barley soup with mushrooms. 
I used about 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms which gave a nice yet not that strong flavour to the soup. I think next time I'll use more. 

I also used a pressure cooker to cook the soup faster. You can certainly cook it in a stainless steel, cast iron or Earthenware pot ... or even in a slow cooker. Cooking time will vary.

I used presoaked chickpeas that I prepped the night before. For more info on how to soak and cook chickpeas and other legumes check out this post.

Dersa can be found in most Middle Eastern/Turkish/Greek shoppes or you can make your own by following this recipe.

This is a delicious recipe so for this month of Ramadan, it would have been a shame to ignore this delicious recipe. ;)
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So let's get started with the recipe.

KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME : 1 hr 45min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : 0 min  |  COOK TIME : 1 hr 5min  

soups | serves 4-5

Chourba Frik maâ Fougaâ 
Algerian Green Wheat Soup with Mushrooms
 Flavourful twist to this famous east Algerian soup, perfect for your Ramadan table or on cold days. 

‣ 350g beef (with bones)
‣ 1 large onion, chopped fine
‣ 2 cloves of galic, minced
‣ Handful of presoaked chickpeas (optional)
‣ 2 handfuls of chopped parsley
‣ 2 handfuls of chopped coriander/cilantro
‣ 3 ripe tomatoes
‣ 1 tsp Ras el Hanount
‣ 1 dried mint
‣ 2 TBS tomato paste
‣ 2 tsp dersa (red pepper paste)
‣ 1 bay leaves
‣ 1 large carrot, diced
‣ 2 medium courgettes/zuchinni, diced
‣ salt, black pepper to taste
‣ oil or butter
‣ 200g - 1 scant cup frik/freekah
‣ 2 liter - qt water or stock

1. Cut the mushrooms separating the stems from the head. Set the sliced heads aside.

2.In a pressure cooker, brown the pieces of meat in olive oil.

3. Mix the onions, mushroom stems, cloves of garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and celery and add them to the meat. Add half the fresh coriander, leaves and the tomato concentrate. Add the chickpeas, mix well and let back on low heat covered for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

4. Then add the spices, salt, bay leaf, mint and hot water or stock. Increase heat to boiling point and reduce to medium.

5. Close the pressure cooker and cook over medium heat for 1 hour.

6. In the meantime, sauteé the remaining mushrooms in a small frying pan with butter. Set aside.

7. Open the pressure cooker and check the amount of liquid. Add a little boiling water if necessary.

8. Pour the courgette/zuchinni,frik and mushrooms into the casserole and cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring very regularly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the casserole.
Turn off heat and add remaining cilantro.Serve with chopped herbs on top and lemon, if desired.

    ⇝ This soup stays fresh in the fridge for up 4 days. If you would like to freeze it, I would suggest preparing the soup without the frik. When you would like to serve it, heat up the soup on the stove top, then do the steps from where it says soak the frik then add it into the soup to cook.

    ⇝ You could optionally use barley or bulgur instead of the frik. Cracked barley is called Tchicha in Algeria. Bulgur is called Boulgour.
    ⇝ You could replace the beef with chicken, turkey, duck, lamb or mutton.

    ⇝ Omit the meat and use water or vegetable for Vegan.
    ⇝ Omit the frik and use zoodles for Paleo, Keto and Diabetes. I would also suggest using some fatty pieces of meat and thickening it with a little arrowroot.


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    Serve this soup along side this hearty Turkish Ramadan Bread or even this kesra semolina galette.

    Or check out these other soup recipes.

    Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

    Below is a savable & sharable RECIPE CARD. Click right to enlarge and save.

      which soups do you like to serve during ramadan?

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