This month’s MENA Cooking Club country of choice, following Algeria and Bahrain, and Djibouti, is Egypt and it is hosted by Amira of Arabian Mama. Egypt has a rich history and a huge impact on Arab culture and food. One gets visions of stuffed pigeons and mountains of koushari served alongside pots of mulukhia and platters of taamia (broad bean felafels), rounded off with syruppy basboosa and warm Um Ali. However, with all this richness one often finds solace in the most humble of foods, and what could be more humble than the lentil seed? I have indeed posted two versions of lentil soup on MCW before (a red and a brown version), but I want this version to be their crown. In addition to the caramelized onions, sparrow’s heads (aka meatballs), vermicelli noodles, and plenty of fresh coriander, I soaked the lentils in a little water for three days just to get them sprouted and thereby amplifying the nutritional benefits of the pulse.
Many thanks to the lovely Noor of Ya Salam Cooking for organizing this event every month.
1 cup orange lentils
2 stock cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
250g minced lamb, formed into balls
1/2 cup vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup chopped coriander
Place the lentils in a shallow dish and rinse, then soak barely covered in water for about three days until they begin to sprout.
Give the lentils a good rinse, drain, then boil them with the stock cubes and four cups of water for 20 minutes.
During this time fry the onion in a little oil and add the spices when soft.
Add the onion and spice mixture to the lentil.
Drop in the minced meat balls and vermicelli and boil for 10 minutes more until cooked through.
Add water to adjust the thickness of the soup and taste for seasoning.
Remember to drink the soup with some vitamin C (like a squirt of fresh lemon or a glass of orange juice) to maximize iron absorption!