Starting today I am doing a month long marathon with “Around the world in 30 days with international ABC cooking” as the theme. Every day I will be posting a recipe from a country in alphabetical order. For first day, I chose Algeria for country starting with A. Today’s recipe is shorba frik, a soup that is usually prepared during the holy month of Ramadan and is eaten after breaking the fast. This is a popular soup in the Middle East and is known by various names. It is interesting to note that I started my last mega marathon, Indian Food Odyssey with haleem, which is also prepared during the month of Ramadan. In fact, shorba frik is similar to haleem but like haleem, this shorba does not call for as many lentils. This shorba is prepared by cooking together the meat and green wheat to make this flavorful soup.
Freekeh or green wheat is harvest when the grain is yellow and moist. It is processed by sun drying, burning the straw and chaff, and then thrashed. It is the thrashing or rubbing process of the grain that gives it the name farik meaning rubbed in Arabic. This grain has low glycemic index, rich in protein and fiber. To know more about this green wheat or freekah, check their website. I could not find freekah and used coarse cracked wheat.
- 358 gm Goat Meat (211 gm Bones + 147 gm Boneless Meat)
- 1 – 1 ½ tbsp. Oil (I used 1 ½ tbsp. but felt 1 tbsp. or even less would have been sufficient)
- ½ small Red Onion chopped (I used red but any variety would work)
- 4 cloves Garlic chopped
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder or Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
- ½ tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste. I do not remember if I added 1 tsp. or 1 ¼ tsp.)
- 2 ½ – 3 cups Water or Vegetable Stock (I used water as I used meat with bones)
- 2 tbsp. Freekeh (green wheat) (I used coarse cracked wheat as I could not find freekeh)
- Few Chickpeas cooked approx. 2 – 3 tbsp.
- 2 tbsp. Coriander ~ Cilantro ~ Kotmir chopped
- I used a pressure cooker but a stock pot can be used. In a 3 liter/quart pressure cooker heat oil and fry onion until translucent.
- Add garlic and fry for a minute.
- Add meat and continue frying until the meat is nicely browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add tomato puree or paste and cook for 2 minutes stirring it frequently.
- Add chili powder, salt, black pepper powder and cook for a minute stirring it regularly.
- Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 7-8 whistles on high and 5-7 minutes on low heat or until meat is very tender. Turn off the heat and let the pressure subside by itself. If using a sauce pan or stock pan, cook for almost an hour until the meat is tender.
- Remove the boneless meat pieces from the shorba, shred and keep aside. I followed this step but felt I could have skipped it.
- Add freekeh or cracked wheat to shorba and simmer for 26 – 30 minutes.
- Remove the bones, let it cool, add coriander leaves and run it in a blender for 10 seconds. My shorba was hot and I did not want to wait for it cool. I added coriander leaves and used my immersion blender.
- Add chickpeas, shredded meat and simmer shorba for few minutes. If the shorba is very thick, add ½ – 1 cup of water and then simmer it.
- Serve the shorba hot with some lemon wedges. My tomato paste gave the shorba required sourness and did not feel the need to add any lemon juice.
- I used bones and meat when cooking the shorba. An alternative to this is to use already cooked meat. In which case, use stock or water and skip steps 6 – 7. Add freekeh and cook for 30 minutes until cooked.
- This shorba can be made without meat. In that case skip step 6 & 7, and add more chickpeas or as desired to the shorba.