When looking for a recipe to make for the alphabet X, my husband came up with this soup which is a classic Libyan Beef and Vegetable soup with lentils and chickpeas. The name was very fascinating and above all the soup had a five spice blend in it which made it very aromatic. I skipped the meat from the soup and added vegetable broth instead of meat stock to make the soup flavorful.
This was a very filling soup and it closely resembled the Lentil Soup that I had made earlier this month. Fall has begun for us and I am all set with few new soup recipes that are right up my alley.
The soup had a liberal quantity of the five spice also called Hararat. This is a very classic Libya Five Spice blend that is used in many soup recipes. I found the recipe from here and when you get a chance, check out their vast collection of African recipes. I will be making a few in the coming days.
A-Z Marathon – Alphabet X
Category – International
Preparation time – 15 mins
Cooking time – 1 hr 20 mins
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients to make Xarba Arbija – (Serves 6)
- Red lentils / masoor dal – ½ cup (washed and drained)
- Chick peas (cooked or canned) – 1 can (drained and rinsed) or about 200 gms cooked
- Vegetable broth – 500 ml or about 2 cups
- Water – 500 ml or about 2 cups
- Onion – 1 (finely chopped)
- Garlic – 2 cloves (minced)
- Carrot – 1 large (finely chopped)
- Potato – 1 large (skin removed and finely chopped)
- Tomato – 3 (chopped)
- Hararat – 2 tbsp (see below for recipe)
- Chili powder – ½ tsp
- Oil – 2 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
To make the Hararat or the Libyan Five spice blend –
- Red chilies – 2
- Coriander seeds – 4 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 4 tsp
- Cinnamon – 2 stick (broken into pieces)
- All spice – 1 tsp
Procedure to make Xarba Arbija –
To make the Hararat –
- Dry roast the red chilies, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant (about 2-3 mins). Once the spices are roasted add the all spice and then give it one stir. Turn off the flame and let it cool down.
- Grind the roasted spices into fine powder using a spice blender and store in an airtight container for future use.
To make the soup –
- Heat oil in deep pot and add the chopped onions and garlic. Saute until softened (for about 5 mins).
- Add the chopped vegetables and fry it for 5 more minutes.
- Now add the hararat spice, chili powder, salt, sugar and the tomatoes and mix well. Let it cook for about 5 mins more. Add the salt carefully since the broth will have some salt in it.
- Add the washed and drained lentils and mix it well. Add the vegetable stock and water.
- Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 40 mins or until the lentils are cooked.
- Now add the cooked or canned chickpeas and let it cook for 15 more mins.
- Check for the consistency of the soup and add more water if it is too thick.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side or with some crusty bread.