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Shorbet Ads Masri | Egyptian Red Lentil Soup #MENA Cooking Club

Egyptian lentil soup is spiced with cumin and chile — it's just comfort with a kick

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Marhaba - Welcome!  If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed, check out the Recipe Index. Or follow me on the social network Facebook. Thanks for visiting!
I was recently invited to participate in a virtual monthly cooking club called the MENA Cooking Club  which was created by Noor of Ya Salaam Cooking. It's really my honor considering my love of food from these two regions. It's a delightful way to explore and share even more yummy dishes of these two regions. Amira from Arabian Mama was our host for October, giving us a choice between two savory dishes and one sweet all from her native country of Egypt.

Do you remember Egypt? The land of pharaohs and pyramides. And much more recent times, prehaps you remember the Egyptians flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square protesting their 30 year autocratic rule. Yes, that Egypt. I read an article a few years ago in Food & Wine Magazine (Feb 2012 issue) where food writer Salma Abdelnour made the comment, 

“I hope one result of all the eyes on Egypt will be a renewed interest in its culture, including its food traditions.” 

So what is Egyptian food?

According to Eric Monkaba, founder of Cairo based cooking school Qasr Twenty it’s the cooking of housewives, not haute restaurant cuisine or even street food. It’s cooking by hand, grinding spices with a mortar and pestle, chopping with a makharata (double mezzaluna), and the carefully stirring a pot of soup as it simmers. Egyptian cuisine makes heavy use of legumes and vegetables, due to the rich and fertile Nile valley and delta. Although food in the northern city of Alexandria and on the Egyptian coast tends to make use of the fresh Mediteranean fish and other seafood, for the most part Egyptian cuisine relies heavily on vegetable based dishes. Meat has been very expensive for most Egyptians throughout history, and many vegetarian dishes have developed to work around this economic reality. Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as "Foul Muddames", mashed fava bean dish; "Koshari, a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, topped with spicy tomato sauce; "Mloukhiya", Jew's mallow (jute leaves) stewed in a garlicy coriander sauce; "Fatta", a layered pita bread casserole and "F'tir Meshaltet", a pillowy layered pastry somewhat similar to our own Algerian msemmen. Egyptian cuisine also shares similarities with food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables (aka dolma) , grape leaves, charwarma, couscous, kebab, falafel, baba ghannouj and syrupy desserts such as baklava.

the beauty of the egyptian kitchen

One of the recipes on Amira's list was one of the classics of the Egyptian Kitchen - Shorbet Ads شوربة العدس الأحمر -Red Lentil Soup. I'm pretty much been "lambed out" after all the feasting of Eid al Adha so when I spotted these brightly colored lentils in the market I knew instantly which recipe I was going to prepare. Lentils are a very ancient food staple, and have been the basis of diets in the Middle East for millennia. And red lentil soup soup has got to be one of my all-time favorite comfort soups It’s a really simple rustic dish, nothing fancy or pretentious. And while that may lead you to think it’s not special - you'd be so wrong. It's the beauty of Egyptian cooking. This velvety puréed soup is packed with as much vitamins and mineral as its brilliant orange color suggests - with taste to match. This Egyptian versions differs from my usual version as it's simmered with vine-ripe tomatoes and fiery red pepper. It's then passed through a strainer or blended making it ultra-silky. Due to the nutrition content of lentils, this soup can be served as a meal on its own. It's even better accompanied by some crunchy crispy onions and some homemade grilled pita bread this meal is definitely a meal to be made again and again in the upcoming colder months. You can optionally use the more traditional Egyptian topping of caramelized onions or even arabic style croutons ( fried or baked pita strips).

shorbet ads masri
Egyptian lentil soup is spiced with cumin and chile — it's just healty comfort with a kick


soups & stews | serves 6 - 8



Dopple of Greek yogurt, sprinkling of sumac & top with crispy onions. Serve along side some fresh pita bread or chunk of crusty bread. 


‣ 3 TBS milld olive oil or ghee
‣ 1 large onion, chopped
‣ 2 carrots, chopped
‣ 2 celery ribs, chopped
‣ 3 garlic cloves, chopped
‣ 1 tsp ground cumin
‣ ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
‣ 1 sprig of fresh thyme OR ½ teaspoon dried thyme
‣ ½ tsp cayenne pepper or ancho chile
‣ 3 large ripe tomatoes, grated (skin removed)
‣ 1 tsp tomato paste
‣ 340g - 2 cups red lentils
‣ 2 liters - 8 cups of stock (I used beef stock) ۞
‣ salt, to taste
‣ black pepper, to taste
‣ Juice of 1 lemon 


‣ 32 g - ¼ cup all-purpose flour
‣ 40g - ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
‣ 125ml - ½ cup water
‣ 1 large, lightly beaten
‣ ½ tsp sweet paprika
‣ ½ tsp ground cumin
‣ generous pinch of black pepper
‣ ½ tsp baking powder
‣ 1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
‣ Oil for deep-fat frying

    Pick through your lentils for any stones or unwanted debris. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and sauté until soft, about 10-15 minutes.  The onions should not be burnt.
    Add the spices to coat the vegetables.  Cook for a few minutes to toast the spices. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and the stock. Bring the heat to a slow simmer. This soup shouldn't boil at any point. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the lentils. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are very soft.

    Remove the lentil mixture from heat and purée using a hand-held immersion blender (or in batches in the regular blender). I like mine very smooth and silky. If you like yours a more chunky texture, feel free to only purée half the soup.  Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. If the soup is too thick, add an addition cup of stock or water. Check for seasoning and reseason as needed with salt and pepper. Right before serving squeeze some lemon juice over the top of the soup and stir.

    In a shallow bowl, whisk the first five ingredients. Separate onion slices into rings. Dip the onions into the batter. In a deep-fat fryer or deep heavy bottom pot, heat 1 in. of oil. To check if your oil is hot enough, simply toss in a bit of the coating. If it quickly floats to the top the oil is ready. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil isn't hot enough yet. Fry onion in batches for 1 to 1 ½ minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Alternatively, bake the onions in the oven for about 15 minutes on abaking sheet, until crisp.

    Serve immediately topped with crispy fried onion and with pita bread or your favorite  Or optionally top with caramelized onions or arabic croutons (fried or baked pita strips) and serve with crusty bread.

    This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days. And can be kept longer if frozen. To use, just reheat the soup slowly on the stovetop.


    To make this soup, vegan simply use a vegetarian based stock when making the soup.

     CATEGORIES:  HEALTHYcomfort, Soup VEGAN adaptable,,middle eastern, egyptian, mena cooking club

    SOURCE:  adapted from chef osama and eric monkaba

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          have you ever had egyptian food? what's your favorite egyptian dish? 

          Be sure to check out everyone's entries into this month's challenge:

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          1. very informative and very delicious post !!

          2. Loved the fried onions on the soup, an interesting idea, yummy.

          3. This looks gorgeous! Love the crispy onions, yummy.

          4. Thank you Madiha for stopping by. I see how popular this soup has become in the group :)

          5. As usual looking deliciously lovely sis Henia
            xx aicha

          6. Gorgeous soup, great vibrant color you got. And love the presentation and toppings.

          7. Okay, wow mashAllah you have out done yourself. Perfect picture, article and it just looks good. Yes, I am licking my screen now lol.

          8. G'day a beautiful post that caused me to smile today!
            Wondering photo and recipe!
            Glad to have met you through MENA; following on FB!
            Cheers! Thanks for sharing your Egyptian recipe this month too!
            Joanne @ What's On The List

          9. Assalam Alaykom Madiha,
            You've done a great job dear, I love your presentation so much. Thanks for joining in this month.

          10. Sorry I meant Henia ... donno why I called you Madiha :) anyways I keep calling my kids' with eachother's names!!!! Anyways, thanks again for joining us and I really do like your blog's colors and contents.


          Did you make this? Or have a question about the recipe? Have some helpful feedback to share? Or just want to say hello? Leave comment love below :)
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