The New Gastronome

It’s More Than A Soup!

What Eating Lentil Soup In Syria Means To Me

Today, I am going to write about a famous and delicious Middle Eastern lentil soup. Actually, for me, it’s more than just a soup–it’s a part of a childhood memory and it was a significant part of my life in Syria.


I remember when my siblings and I were coming home from school, looking for warmth, on a cold and rainy winter day. As soon as I stepped into the house, I smelled the delicious soup that my mother made us for lunch, so we could warm up!


In an ironic twist of fate, after the war, it became a story about fighting hunger and this soup became a staple. When the war broke out in Aleppo and the food supply was cut short, legumes and cereals were like heaven for many of us because, as we know, they are rich in nutrients and they provide the body with energy and protein.


Today, however, I’d like to share with you my mom’s recipe, who says that “with simple ingredients, you can easily get a highly nutritious and delicious meal with a good source of protein, fiber and iron.”


Middle Eastern lentil soup. 


The ingredients:


  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ½ cups water or 5 cups (chicken, meat, or vegetable broth )
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon or as desired
  • ½ teaspoon of Aleppo pepper (use paprika if not available)
  • ½ teaspoon salt or as desired


A.   D    V.   E.   R.   T.   I.   S.   I.   N.   G



The preparation method:


  1. Wash the lentils and set aside.
  2. Cut the onion into tiny pieces. Heat up the oil, add the onion pieces, and stir well with a spatula. Turn the heat down to low.
  3. You have to cook the onions gently so they do not change color. Once the onions are cooked, add the lentils with the water. Turn the heat up until the mixture boils. Remove the foam that forms at the top of the pot. Then, turn the heat down again and add the ground ginger, paprika, cumin, and salt. Cover it and let cook for about 20 minutes. After the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and mix it with the soup (you can also use a mixer or hand blender).
  4. Pour the soup in a bowl and garnish it with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.


Now, enjoy your Middle Eastern lentil soup!


Photos ©Abigail Rochelle Abraira-Burklin

About the author

Nuha Saegh

She's from Syria and graduated from the Master of Gastronomy program at The University of Gastronomic Sciences. Before moving to Italy, Nuha worked as a teacher in Aleppo, until the war-which caused the death of her husband-changed her and her son's lives forever. After this unspeakable tragedy, Nuha and her son moved to Italy. She enjoys teaching Arabic, volunteering, sewing and designing.