Salam dear readers, and welcome back! Apologies for the long hiatus-we were busy sorting through the mountains of fabulous data we collected last summer in Gaza, processing it, getting it translated and transcribed (shout out to our wonderful assistant Manar in Ramallah!), and of course, getting a publisher which we are happy to report we now have (hooray for Just World Books)!
So we’re back, and this time we hope regularly. But we need YOUR help! As we process with our book, we need our wonderful readers to kitchen-test the recipes we publish here and give us your feedback: were the measurements accurate? Are the directions clear? If not, what would you change? To start us all off, we’d like to share with you our recipe (really, its my mother’s recipe :)) for Shorabit Adas (lentil soup), a Ramadan favorite! And what better time to share it than Ramadan!
Shorabit Adas (Lentil Soup)
Nothing goes to waste in the Gaza kitchen. When koosa (Middle Eastern squash, also known as Magda squash) is cored for making mahshi (stuffed vegetables), the pulp is never discarded. Rather, it is used to make soup, as in this recipe, or imfarakka (squash and egg scramble). While chronic power cuts in Gaza prevent regular use of major appliances, the pulp does freeze extremely well. Freeze in individual zip-seal bags for future use.
1 cup red lentils
2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery (approximately 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup chopped red carrots
3/4 cup chopped koosa or other firm squash, such as yellow squash, or equal amount koosa pulp
2 vegetable or chicken bullion cubes
8 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock, if bullion not used
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 T. chopped parsley
½ tsp paprika
Directions: Rinse lentils well and set aside. Sauté onions in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic and sauté’ for 2 more minutes. Add remaining vegetables (note: if using frozen koosa pulp, add later when soup is boiling) and stir 5 more minutes. Add lentils, bullion cubes and water or broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Stir in cumin and salt and mix well. Cool slightly, then puree till smooth using a hand blender or conventional blender. Strain through food mill or whisk through mesh strainer. Discard solids.
Serve garnished with chopped parsley and sprinkled with paprika. Swirl with a spoon.
Variation: To prepare as a full meal known as fattit adas, serve each bowl with a handful of toasted Arabic bread pieces (approximately 1/2 cup). The toasted bread should be mixed in with the soup before eating.