A traditional Tunisian soup enriched with semolina and garnished with meatballs, capers and preserved lemons.
In Arabic, the word chourrba (also spelled chorba or shorba) means soup. The chorba is an everyday dish in North Africa, ever-present on family gatherings and Ramadan. Soups of all variations exists in the region, from Chourba hamra in the center to Hariras in the western lands. Meat and vegetables give subtle fragrance to these deliciously hearty soups.
With winter approaching fast, I thought it would be wise to offer some additional soup recipes, since they are so easy to prepare and do warm the bones during the colder months.
The soup I propose today is is Chourba Sder (also spelled Zder, or Zdir), which is a spicy soup made from semolina, usually consumed when it is cold, or when you are sick. And in this soup indeed the pepper warms, and in addition it works very well against microbes! It can be consumed at the breaking of the Ramadan fast with bread or kesra, or during the evening meal. It is therefore ideal for the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during the day. A bowl of nourishing soup to break the fast with is always a welcomed sight. This soup is very easy to prepare and is very similar to the Algerian couscous soup called Chourba Smida
I have prepared the 'bel Kâaber' version, meaning with meatballs, but it can be garnished with Quedid (dried mutton meat), beef, lamb, chicken or even made meatless. The inhabitants of the Tunisian oasis Tozeur like to add some green vegetables (el figel in Arabic) to perfume this soup, but this is, of course, is optional. I have not added them but instead added sweet peas that my dear children enjoy. The addition of honey (or sugar) is needed to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and preserved lemons.
Sder, in addition to semolina, is garnished with celery, capers, and lemon pulp making it a very refreshing soup to consume.
You will find on this blog several soup recipes in the Recipe Index.
To come back to my story, Algerian peas are quite big and sometimes very starchy. They have a slightly sweet taste, but are only in season in the spring. Luckily, due to modern technology we can enjoy this dish year round.
๑۞๑ Sder bel Kâaber contains gluten, meat and grains. See Kitchen Tips for tips on how to make Vegan, Gluten-Free and/or Paleo friendly.