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Chourba Hamra F'daouech | Algerian Red Soup With Vermicelli

  Slow cooked Algiers style rich in protein, vitamin and flavor; the prefect cold weather soup to warm up with. 

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Chorba is definitely the culinary symbol of Algeria as much as harira is for Morocco . Chourba was brought to Algeria by Turkish invaders udinr the 16th century. The word chourba actually comes from the Turkish word çorbaci (literally “soup man”). The çorbaci played a vital rôle in keeping the troops fed. The Turkish style soup was imported all the Baklans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asiathe Middle East, South Asia as well as North Africa.
Each region in Algeria has its own recipe, whether one is in the center, east, west or south of the country. Chorba is traditionally prepared with mutton but can also be made beef, camel or poultry depending on the region, occasion and cook.
In the capital, Algiers, Chourba hamra fdaouech (red chorba with vermicelli) is favored, and has several variants depending on the vegetables used.

The type of grain you add into your soup really varies region to region. In Algiers, vermicelli pasta is favored. There's actually a handrolled vermicelli called matkarfa which is made by handrolling a semolina dough, in Kabylia frik which is a smoked young wheat, further east tlitli which is a bird's tongue pasta is used, in the west tchicha which is cracked barley is used. Yet other regions trida which is a small square shaped is used, and finally rice or bulgur may also be used.

Video recipe for 

Chourba Hamra F'daouech | Algerian Red Soup With Vermicelli


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For this recipe, I'm using mutton as my main flavoring. You can also use beef, camel, chicken, turkey or even omit the meat altogether to make it vegan.


So let's get started with the recipe...

KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME : 15  min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : 0 min   |  COOK TIME : 1 1/2 hr 

soup recipes | serves about 6-8

Chourba Hamra F'daouech
Traditional Algerian Recipe 
Slow cooked Algerian style red soup is prefect for cold winter days or to break a fast.

  • 500g -1 lb Lamb meat cut into tiny pieces (optionally use other meat or omit for vegan)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini cut into small dices
  • 1 small potato, diced (optional- I didn't use it this time)
  • a generous handful of cilantro/coriander, chopped
  • A generous handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 250g - 1 cup pre-cooked (or canned) chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup vermicelli or other soup pasta
  • 1 tbs dersa - red pepper paste
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • salt & white (or black) pepper, to taste
  • hot paprika or harissa, to taste optional

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, melt the onion with the meat cut into small pieces.
  2. Add the chopped coriander and the mint and celery.
  3. Add the salt, red pepper and a tablespoonful of tomato concentrate.
  4. Add pepper and cinnamon. Combine everything with a small fire and leave to come back a few minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and potato.
  6. Pour 1 1/2 ½ of water and chickpeas.
  7. Place the couscoussier over the pot and place the cut tomatoes into large pieces. Salt lightly and cover the couscoussier.
  8. In the first stock, reduce the heat and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
  9. When the meat and the chickpeas are cooked, pass the tomatoes to the food mill or mixer. Pour into the pot.
  10. Do not hesitate to add a little water if you find it useful.
  11. Increase the heat and, at the first boil, pour the vermicelli (1 small handful) and toss at the same time until boiling.
  12. Reduce heat and cook for a few minutes. Adjust seasoning.

We like to serve this soup with bourek, a North African fried pastry and freshly baked crusty https://thetealtadjine.blogspot.com/search/label/BREADbread.

    Make Ahead
    ⇝ This soup is easily made ahead up to 2 days before you would like to serve it. Making this soup in a large batch is ideal for Ramadan. You can portion it out, (not adding the vermicelli) freeze what you're not going to use now and reheat when needed. 

    ⇝ This stew can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in a food storage container.

    Vegan & Vegetarian
    ⇝ To make this dish veg-friendly omit the meat and use vegetable stock.

    Red Pepper Dersa
    ⇝ Dersa is a pepper paste that is made by pounding dry chillies and red peppers with a mortar pestle until it becomes a paste. Unlike Harissa dersa doesn't contain any spices. Store bought dersa (sold in North Africa) tends to be very salty so if you are using this, beware of the salt you add. There are Turkish brands (called Biber salçası) of pepper paste like Tukas, Sera or Bafra that are really substituted as they are really the same thing. So if you cannot find either, then just simply remove the skin from a ripe red bell pepper, pure it and add into the pot. Or even easier take 1-2 whole roasted red peppers that you can buy jarred or in the deli section of the supermarket. Puree and add into the pot. Or optionally omit it completely. There is some slight difference in taste, but hey sometimes we have to improvise in life!

    Alternative Cooking
    ⇝ You can prepare this dish in a pressure cooker (called a cocotte in Algeria ) as many Algerian cooks do. Same method, but the cooking time will be cut in half. Or if you have a slow cooker make this dish in the slow cooker. Some tips on how to cook beans in a pressure or slow cooker can be found here. For more information on how to cook with dried beans refer to this post.

    Canned Chickpeas
    ⇝ I don't advise or encourage the use of packaged foods such as canned beans, but let's face it's faster and many cooks out there use them, so if you're not convinced by this to use dried please check out my blog post on dried beans HERE.


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     ➤ This stew  would be delicious served  with this homemade bread
    ➤ Or even try this zataar fan-tans.
    ➤ Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

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