Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Lentil soup عدس Aatz

Well, firstly apologies for the inconsistent blog posts, this year has been very busy to say the least.  As I am pregnant with baby number 3 it has been difficult to keep up with activities of daily life looking after 2 boys as well as maintain the blog, cooking videos and undertake the challenge of running cooking classes while being either vomiting from morning sickness or restricted due to illness etc.
While I have had to reduce the time spent on the various projects and neglected the blog while I was planning, preparing and running the cooking classes, with the remaining few weeks before this baby arrives I have put classes on hold and can devote more time to the videos and blog instead.
The cooking classes were very successful and I had wonderfully positive feedback from the participants so I do look forward to running some more in the future.  In the mean time I have begun working on a video course that will be structured the same as for the Egyptian Cooking banquet course that I ran as a class.  This will take me several weeks to complete with the aim of completing it and getting it uploaded to UDEMY before the baby arrives!! So keep an eye out for that.  I will of course let you know as soon as it goes up.

I know that I promised a blog and video on Koshery some time back before I got a cold I couldn’t shake.  It left me very fatigued and I just couldn’t manage it.  I have not forgotten about it and do hope to get around to that soon.

As it is winter now, down here in the Southern Hemisphere, I often look forward to soup to warm our bodies and one very classic and tasty soup that I grew up with at home is a red lentil soup called  عدس Aatz.  Its combination of cumin and lemon are wonderful with the lentils.  Lentils are not a particularly popular but I did make this during one of the cooking classes and found that while most people thought very little of this pulse before tasting the dish once it was served the oohs and aahs were flowing and there seemed to be almost a surprise to some that lentils could produce something that tasted nice.
My mums’ way of making this involved using a special strainer where you turn the handle and the soup gets pushed through tiny holes.  I don’t have one and I did try pushing the soup through a strainer using a spoon but soon realised that was a huge effort and messy too.  Instead my way was to blend the soup using a stick blender which I love since it produces a wonderfully smooth soup.  The same result with half the fuss.

Lentil soup  عدس Aatz

Serves 6

Lentil soup  عدس Aatz
Lentil soup  عدس Aatz

1 ½ cups / 300g red lentils
1 - 1½ litres chicken stock (depending on the consistency desired)
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt (if using stock taste before adding salt)
2 teaspoons cumin powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

To save on dishes I fry the onion in the same pot as I will cook the lentils in.  Melt the ghee or butter in the pot and add the chopped onion.  Fry on medium heat for 5 minutes or until browned. In the meantime wash the lentils and strain.  When the onion is cooked remove onto a plate and add the lentils and water to the pot. Bring it to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until cooked.  My parents put the soup through a hand strainer at home but I think it is far easier to use a stick blender and wiz it up until smooth.  Add cumin powder and lemon juice. Check for seasoning before adding salt.  Mix well then serve with the fried onion on top.

This can be served in a bowl as a soup with fresh Lebanese bread on the side for dipping, or several loaves of Lebanese bread can be dried, broken into small pieces and mixed with the soup.  To do this split the bread into halves, place in preheated moderately hot oven 200°C (400°F/Gas mark 6) for 10 -15 minutes or until bread is dry and lightly browned.  Break into small pieces in a large bowl and add the lentil soup over the top. Mix and serve.

Lentil soup  عدس Aatz
Lentil soup  عدس Aatz

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