Whoever walks with his brother to help fulfill a need of his, every step taken will be charity.Ibn ‘Abbaas, Jaami’ al-Oloom
As I've mentioned chourba is prized and omnipresent part of the Ramadan table. There are several types of chourbas from around the various regions of Algeria. Ones using sharp spices, fragant herbs, summer fresh tomatoes or even the basicest of ingredients. Today I'm going to share an Algerian soup recipe that really speaks to the soul. It uses very basic kitchen ingredients.
My version of this northern Algerian soup is lighter than most Algerian chourbas. It reminds me in a way of a Greek Avgolemono soup. I've used the chicken backbone and neck so the soup is flavorful yet economical. You may use whatever part you like.
Traditional this soup is thickened slightly with a mixture of smen (fermented butter) olive oil, lemon juice and about 3 egg yolks called a el-3akda. My version is lighter as I'm only using one instead of 3.
("white soup" from Alger )
- Backbone of one chicken.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 generous handful of chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Handful or parsely, chopped roughly
- Handful of cilantro, chopped roughly
- Generous pinch of dried mint
- Generous handful of vermicelli pasta
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- about 5 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 L of water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon of maïzena (corn flour or corn starch)
- Clean your chicken very well.
- Place the chicken in pot of water (I use a 6L Earthen pot kinda like this one that I fill with about 4L of water)
- Add in the peppercorns, cinnamon, saffron, onion, garlic, chickpeas and bay leaf.
- Bring to boil, then simmer. (Skim off the scum that floats on top of the soup as needed.)
- After about 30 minutes, the chicken should be done.
- Remove the chicken or just strain the whole soup (this is easier)
- Remove the meat from the bones. Disgard the bones.
- Put the strained soup back on the fire; add the chickpeas back in also.
- Bring up the fire to a boil, add in the pasta, mint, parsley and cilantro.
- Ladle some of the soup into a bowl, which you have added the maïzena to. Disolve the maïzena then add into the soup.The soup will now thicken.
- Once, the pasta is cooked al-dente, add in the beaten egg. Allow to cook slightly.
- adjust seasoning and squeeze the juice of one lemon into.
๑۞๑ You can use other pastas here like orzo (la langue d'oiseau) ... or even frik.