Friday, September 18, 2009

Different Minds, Different Soups

We should wash our hands, but most importantly our hearts, before we sit around the table together. The holy month is nearing its end and a post about my two favorite Ramadan soups is in order. As varied as we are in Syria, as different as we are as bloggers, there are so many soups to enjoy none of which is right or wrong. We're a passionate crowd, us Levantines, and we are known to pick fights with our own shadows when we can't find someone to disagree with.

Yet the disparity of opinions should never degrade to a personal conflict. In the free future most of us aspire to no one should set rules for the others to follow. We might as well stay as we are if we don't have it in us to embrace all the colors of the rainbow. Neither I nor whoever disagrees with me have the correct answer. My proven science and their divine text mean so much to each of us respectively but might signify nothing to a third person. It's not a matter of numbers or of a majority and minorities. If we truly aspire to be free we have to defend the freedom of those at odds with us first.

I leave you with the double-recipe for Lentil and Red Soups. Over the last month I've rarely strayed from either one or the other on the Iftar table. They are prepared differently, they look different, they taste different, but both are authentic Syrian cuisine and come with plenty of meat:-)

Ah and on a final note... I wish you all a Happy Eid Fitr. I wish I could've enjoyed it here at home but it so happens that I'm traveling over the holidays to a new land. Hopefully, I'll come back with a story.

Lentil Soup

Lentils 2 cups (cleaned and rinsed in cold water)
Short grain rice ½ cup (cleaned and rinsed in cold water)
Ground beef or minced lamb 200g rolled into small balls ½ “ in diameter
1 small onion (diced)
Chicken broth 1 small cube
Butter 1 tablespoon
Salt 1 tablespoon (or per taste)
Cumin ½ teaspoon
Black pepper ½ teaspoon



-Bring salted lentils and rice to boil in 4 cups of water – Keep uncovered over medium-high for 30 minutes.
-Pour into manual food masher (with the water) and mash them so they come out the bottom, well... well-mashed.
-Separately fry the diced onion in some butter until light brown.
-Separately fry the meat balls in the rest of the butter until brown.
Add the well-mashed lentils and rice mix to the fried onion and meat balls, top them with 2 cups of hot water.
Sprinkle with cumin and black pepper and a (cut into small pieces) cube of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and keep for 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy Ummmm


Red Soup

Ground beef or minced lamb 200g rolled into small balls ½ “ in diameter
Vermicelli 1 cup
Tomato paste 2 tablespoons
Chicken broth 1 cube
Salt 1 tablespoon (or per taste)
Black pepper ½ teaspoon




-Fry the balls of meat in butter until golden brown. Remove replace with vermicelli and heat until red.
-Separately bring 5 cups of water to boil then add meat balls, vermicelli, chicken broth, tomato paste. Stir for a while then leave over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
*Be very careful not to add cold water to the vermicelli because it will go crazy and turn Afro.

Sahha wa Hana

27 comments:

Abu Kareem said...

Abu Fares,
Great introduction to the soup recipes! I support every word of it...and the soup recipes of course.

Isobel said...

Fantastic post, Abufares! A case for a tolerant society beautifully put. And the SOUPS!! My lentil soup isn't like this one and I MUST try yours! We are quickly moving into soup and stew weather here in Canada and I'm hungry for all sorts of wonderful recipes like the ones you have here! Thank you! :) (I'm going to post a recipe today too!)

Jillian said...

Sounds delicious, Abufares! Eid mubarak to you and your family!

abufares said...

@Abu Kareem
Thank you my friend for your support. That's what it's all about anyway.
And the soups, sahha wa hana.
Kol 3am wa Antom bi Kheir

abufares said...

@Isobel
Happy Eid Fitr
It should start on Sunday and lasts for 3 days.
I'm sure your lentil soup tastes fantastic but this one too you will certainly like. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
I'm a soup lover myself and I can't wait to read your recipe, whatever it is :-)

abufares said...

@Jillian
I just replied to Isobel that I love all kinds of soup. There's only one I can't stand "Rice Soup". It reminds me of being sick when I was a little boy. Conventional wisdom back then was that if something tastes like crap it must be good for you.
Eid Saeed to you. Have a good time.

Joseph said...

What a fine prelude Abufares. In your aspiration for a better place for everyone, I could envisage the canvas you are setting, on which, ultimately, the intense color mixing shall produce a painting that is worth a million blogs.
I’m much obliged, يسلمو ايديك أبو فارس for posting the recipes of not only one but two mouth watering lentil soups. For me, lentil soup is reminiscent of happier times.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and all the Muslims around the world peace and Eid saeed.

Be safe on your travels and be good!

Katia said...

Soup reminds me of camping trips and middle-of-the-night cooking sessions over open fires to still the small hungers and cravings of us night owls. Cooking soups and enjoying them still represents that coziness for me.

Kel sene o enta salem Abufares. And thank you for another tasteful post.

The New "BIL" said...

Abu Fares

A wonderful post and so in touch with a world vision. The ability to speak and give answers, answers? What's that? My take is an answer is to Apply Narration Striving to Win Everyones Respect. Knowing that it is as you say, not just a matter of numbers but true thoughts conveyed to another. I have found in my traveling through this world people are mostly the same, with the same values. The problem is a lot of people just do not have the time to listen to someone complete what they have to say and only recieve part of the thought or even worse the complete wrong thought than what was trying to be said. We have not mentioned the third person who might be listing in. We all might not have the correct answer however, we can only strive to communicate better with one another..a tall order isn't it? I too am away from family and loved ones but I do want to take this time to wish you a most joyest Eid Fitr to you and everyone! The New "BIL"

Gabriela said...

This soup surely tastes delicious.
Looking forward to that promised story!
Eid mubarak, by the way.

abufares said...

@Joseph
A humble attempt to bridge the gap.

I hope you get to eat your Lentil Soup soon and relive the Happy Times again and again.

Thank you for your heartfelt Eid wishes :-)

abufares said...

@Katia
I love camping and an I love soup. I have to admit that I never had them together though:-)

Happy times to you and yours, Eid and otherwise :-)

abufares said...

@New BIL
I have to thank you for this very kind comment and for your sincere wishes.
From my side, I only hope that your present and future will be filled with joy and happiness.
Many Thanks BIL and Eid Fitr Saeed.

abufares said...

@Gabriela

Eid Saeed to you too.
How about a Peruvian soup or two on your blog???

uuummm

Karin said...

YUMMERS!!!! Especially when it starts to get nippy outside in the evenings, there's nothing better that a hot soup! I will definitely try them out! Thanks so much Abufares ... EID MUBARAK to you all - and have a safe trip!

abufares said...

@Karin
Hello my friend.
I need to get back to your email so don't think that I forgot :-)
I've just been working in overdrive the last few days.
Hopefully, it'll settle down soon.
Eid Saeed to you dear Karin.

أنا سوري said...

كل عام وإنت والعائلة بألف خيرأبو فارس

abufares said...

@Ana Sourie

على راسي من فوق، كل عام وانت بخير

wgaw said...

eid mubarak!

abufares said...

@wgaw
Many thanks!
To you and yours as well.

Tony said...

عيد فطر مبارك ابو فارس
I wish you safe travels wherever you may be going :D
I never had the second soup growing up.... does it have a special name in Arabic? (شوربة الحمراء؟) they both sound delicious! sahtein!

abufares said...

@Tony
Thank you my friend I just came back this afternoon.
We call it Red Soup in Tartous. it's very very good and you should give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Abufares, eid saeed, sorry I´m a bit late, I was fishing



abufares said...

Hi Le

Welcome Back :-) I too was away and came back after the Eid.

Mostafa H said...

hello my friend ...

why all of this hatred towards rules abufares ???

isn`t order better than chaos ??

if I do not accept anyone to tell me whats right and whats wronge, whats the difference between me and any teenage troublemaker in khallouf high school or Reyad hijjar ???

sorry for the unpolite expression .... but I believe this is our problem in the Arab world today .... every one is perfect and no one wants to suppose himself wronge fro even one second ...

I love your warm words comming directly out of your heart ...

but I`m sorry ......alot of things I disagree with

abufares said...

@Mustafa H

I'm so happy you disagree with me so graciously. Perhaps your response is exactly what I'm trying to defend. Disagreeing while maintaining a sense of respect for each other.
I'm not against the rules per say. I'm against irrevocable and unchanging rules. I refuse to live by a code of ethics written centuries before I was even born and to give up my right to dispute it. I refuse that no one dares challenge them least he will be charged by the mindless masses as a blasphemer. Where they come from is irrelevent since they are to be imposed by humans like you and me.
I'm all for law and order in a dynamic and adaptive manner. Morals, decrees and regulations should serve rather than enslave us.
Thank you Ya Ibn Al-Balad for dropping by. You're always welcome.

Joseph said...

مسا الخير أبو فارس Hope all is well. I'm wondering if you've received any emails from this neck of the woods lately...

Have a nice evening.