8 Delicious Soups That Will Keep You Warm This Winter
By: Lindsey Penn/Arab America Contributing Writer
As the weather gets colder and rainier, warm and cozy food hits the spot. Soup is especially good during the winter months, not only because it’s warm, but also because most of them are easy to make. After chopping all of the ingredients, they just go into the pot. So if you’re looking for easy and delicious soups to help you stay warm this winter, look no further.
1. Arabic Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is incredibly popular throughout the Arab world. People will eat it during Ramadan, but also just in general. The use of lentils goes back literally thousands of years (the earliest evidence of lentils in the Middle East dates to 8,000 BC) on its own or in soups. The Arab world, as much of the rest of the world, has continued using lentils in dishes like soup. Each country has its own versions of lentil soup, but the basic ingredients remain the same: red lentils, water (or chicken stock), onion, garlic, cumin, carrots, and celery. If you like a little bit of a kick, here is a recipe for an Egyptian red lentil soup with ancho chile powder. Here is a second recipe without the ancho chile powder.
2. Jordanian Tomato Rice Soup
This dish is similar to alayet banadora, another tomato dish in Jordanian culture. Both are traditionally eaten with bread, as opposed to rice. They are also both relatively easy to make, with tomato being the main ingredient. The biggest difference between the two dishes is that the spices in the tomato rice soup are simply salt, pepper, and cinnamon, while alayet banadora has green chili pepper in it. Alayet banadora is also not so much a soup, but somewhere between a dip and stewed tomatoes. Here is a recipe for alayet banadora and here is the recipe for the Jordanian tomato rice soup.
Hamoud is an Egyptian soup with chicken and lemon. It can be served over rice or on its own. The soup uses the giblets of chicken, although that can be left out, and a lot of lemon. Important ingredients are lemon, chicken, garlic, and celery, with other vegetables. You can also add whichever vegetables are available to you. This recipe adds zucchini.
Molokhia is another super common recipe in the Arab world where each country can have its own version. People believe it originally started in Egypt, then spread to the rest of the Middle East and became popular. Some countries make stews with it, others make soup. The green color comes from the minced Jute mallow leaves, which are then cooked in broth. It has a lot of garlic and coriander as well, and can include chicken, rice, or vegetables. The Jute mallow leaves are a little difficult to find, but can be found in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. Here is the recipe for molokhia.
Harira is the national soup of Morocco. Traditionally, people eat it during Ramadan, but it can be eaten at any point in the year. The word “harira” is the Arabic word for “smooth”, which is the texture of the soup. It is tomato-based with chickpeas and lentils, and most people add lamb or beef to the soup. Harira is seasoned with ginger, pepper, and cinnamon, and has cilantro, parsley, celery, onion, and rice or vermicelli. Here is the recipe for harira.
6. Shorba Libiya
Shorba libiya is the national soup of Libya. It is also similar to harira in contents and in tradition: shorba libiya is typically eaten during Ramadan, and usually has lamb and chickpeas in it. There are versions with chicken and fish, but the lamb is the most common. The biggest difference between harira and shorba libiya is that shorba libiya includes mint, cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaves as a few of the spices. Here is a recipe for shorba libiya.
A healthy soup, freekeh’s key ingredient is freeka, a green wheat, which is roasted. It is common in the Levant and Egypt. You can put shredded chicken in the soup, or eat it without meat. The other ingredients in the soup are simple: chicken broth, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It can include other spices, though, such as allspice and cumin. Here is a recipe without chicken, and here is a recipe with chicken.
8. Shorba Dijaaj/Chicken Soup
Shorba dijaaj is popular everywhere in the world, especially in the Arab world. Different countries have their own soups with spices that they add, but one very well-known variety is the Lebanese chicken soup. In this recipe, there is chicken, onions, carrots, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, lemon, and vermicelli noodles. Here is the recipe.
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