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Shorbat Adas (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)
Shorbat Adas is a Middle Eastern lentil soup. In fact, this warm soup is probably the most popular soup of the Middle East. It’s made of just a few ingredients and therefore easy and quick to prepare. Nevertheless, Arabic lentil soup is very nutritious and refreshing which makes it the perfect soup recipe during Ramadan and other occasions.
Let me show you how to prepare Shorbat Addas the Middle Eastern way.
What is Shorbat Adas?
Shorbat Adas is a Middle Eastern lentil soup. It’s by far the most popular soup in the Middle East. Shorbat Adas is particularly popular during the fasting month Ramadan. Additionally, it makes a great starter for any meal and is a warming soup during colder months.
The best part about Shorbat Addas is that it’s very quick and easy to prepare. Besides, Arabic lentil soup is extremely versatile. Every region and every family has their own twist. Shorbat Adas can be anything from light and refreshing to thick and nutritious.
- Red lentils: Lentils are the key ingredients for your Shorbat Adas. You’ll need red split lentils which are among the most commonly used legumes in the Middle East. What’s special about red lentils is that they are fast cooking (besides, no soaking required). They have an orange-redish color and will turn yellow during cooking. Depending on your country and brand, you’ll find them labeled as red lentils, red split lentils or masoor dal (Indian brands).
- Onions: Onions are the foundation of most Middle Eastern soups. Yellow onions are the preferred choice.
- Carrots: Carrots are one of the key ingredients which make this soup so healthy and delicious. The carrots will cook together with the lentils.
- Potatoes (optional): Potatoes are an optional ingredient to this soup. In fact, most people won’t add them on a regular day. However, I found adding potatoes a great way to make Shorbat Addas more creamy and more delicious. If you’re making lentil soup during Ramadan or would like to have it as a main meal on a regular day, you’ll get a more filling and nutritious soup by adding potatoes. They will cook together with the lentils and carrots.
- Ginger: Ginger gives this soup its distinctive taste. It pairs extremely well with lentils and carrots. Fresh ginger yields the best result. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can add ginger paste or powder.
- Seasonings: Coriander powder, cumin powder, curcuma powder, salt and a pinch of pepper are all you need.
- Bouillon / stock: In the Middle East, most people use bouillon / stock powder. This will be added to the soup together with the water, dissolve and make a flavorful broth. Chicken bouillon is the preferred choice, vegetable bouillon works as well.
- Olive oil: Last but not least, you need a quality olive oil. The ingredients are initially sautéed in the oil which greatly adds to the flavor of this dish.
- Water: Depending on your liking, you need to add more or less water to your soup. More water means a thinner consistency, less water means a thicker soup.
Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.
How to Make Shorbat Adas
Ready to make Middle Eastern lentil soup? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Prepare the vegetables
The first step is to prepare the vegetables. Peel the onion and finely chop it. Grind or finely chop the ginger. Dice the carrots and potatoes. Depending on your preference and the quality of the vegetables, you can use peeled or unpeeled vegetables for your soup. I generally don’t peel my vegetables to preserve a maximum of nutrients. The ingredients will be cooked and blended later on, so you won’t see the peel. The taste is the same. I recommend not peeling the carrots and potatoes for Shorbat Adas if the peel is in good condition.
Step 2: Wash lentils
Place the lentils in a large bowl, fill up with water and wash to remove any debris. Drain and set aside. Soaking is not required.
Step 3: Sauté onions and ginger
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onions and the grinded/chopped ginger to the oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent. This will take 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Add vegetables
Add the diced carrots and potatoes to the saucepan. Stir well to combine with the onions. Fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat (no water and no lentils yet).
Step 5: Add lentils and seasonings
Add the lentils to the saucepan. Add the powdered seasonings (coriander, cumin, curcuma, salt and pepper) and the bouillon powder. Stir well to combine. Fry for another 2-3 minutes on medium heat (no water yet). The idea is to allow the flavors of the seasonings to combine with the lentils and vegetables.
Step 6: Add water
Now it’s time to add the water. The best is to add warm or hot water from the tab as this will cook faster. Bring to a boil. The amount of water is up to you! You can add more water than suggested if you’d like your soup to be more watery, or less for a thicker soup. I recommend that you start with the suggested amounts. If you find your soup too thick, you can always make it thinner at a later stage.
Step 7: Simmer
Once the water is boiling, reduce the stove to low. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
Step 8: Blend
Turn off the stove. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. You can blend it halfway or fully, depending on your liking. I usually blend it all the way through to make it creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also blend your soup in a smoothie maker. To do so, let it cook for about 10 minutes. The soup can be warm when you add it to the smoothie maker, but not piping hot. Make sure to leave some gap.
Step 9: Serve
Serve warm. You can serve your soup plain, garnish it with some chopped coriander or parsley or add fried or roasted pita chips on top. Serve some fresh lemon (some people like the soup rather plain, others prefer it to be a little bitter).
What to Serve with Shorbat Adas
Shorbat Adas is commonly served as a starter before a main course. In the Middle East, soups are particularly popular during the fasting month Ramadan. During that month, soups are usually the first thing that people eat in the evening when breaking their fast. For that occasion, I usually like to serve lentil soup plain (just serve with some lemon), for people to slurp it.
When having guests, you can garnish your lentil soup with chopped parsley/coriander. You could also top it with roasted pita bread chips. If you live outside the Middle East and don’t have pita bread at hand, you could serve it with a piece of white bread such as baguette or toast bread.
Make Ahead & Storage
Shorbat Adas can be perfectly made ahead of time. If you have a large saucepan, you can easily make 12-14 portions in one go. During Ramadan or when you’re sick (and in the mood for a soup), meal prep is key. You can perfectly make a larger batch of lentil soup to consume over several days.
Have leftovers? Let cool completely after cooking (lid closed). Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Lentil soup is also very freezer friendly. Always let cool completely before freezing. Store in airtight containers and freeze for several months. Thaw and warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Shorbat Adas (Lentil Soup)
Shorbat Adas is a nutritious Middle Eastern lentil soup and an all-time favorite during Ramadan. Made with red lentils, potatoes and carrots, this soup is particularly nutritious.
- 400 g (2 cups) red split lentils
- 1 onion yellow, medium
- 3 carrots 3 small carrots = approx. 100 g or 3/4 US cup
- 2 potatoes 2 medium potatoes = approx. 170 g or 1.5 US cups
- 1 Tbsp ginger fresh
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cube bouillon powder 1 cube = 1 Tbsp
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 2 litres (8 cups) water
- Pita bread chips optional
- Chopped parsley/coriander optional
- Start by preparing the vegetables: Peel the onion and finely chop. Dice the carrots and potatoes (peeled or unpeeled). Peel and grind the ginger.
- Wash the lentils in a large bowl. Remove and debris. Set aside. Soaking is not required.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and the ginger to the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the diced potatoes and carrots. Stir well to combine. Fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the lentils and the powdered seasonings (bouillon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper) to the saucepan. Stir well to combine. Don’t add any water yet. Fry for 2-3 minutes (still on medium heat) to allow the flavors to mix.
- Add warm water to the saucepan. Stir. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Once the water is boiling, close the lid, reduce the stove to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Turn off the stove. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency.
- Garnish with chopped parsley/coriander. Serve with fried/roasted pita bread chips or bread and some cut up lemon.
- The default quantities yield 10 small servings (perfect as a starter) or 4-5 large servings (good as a light meal).
- You’ll need red split lentils for this recipe. Depending on your country and brand, they can be labeled as red lentils, red split lentils or masoor dal. Red lentils have an orange-reddish color but will change to yellow when cooked. They cook particularly fast. No soaking required.
- Carrots and potatoes make your soup particularly nutritious. Carrots are a must, potatoes are optional. I mostly add both. I recommend that you use unpeeled carrots and potatoes to preserve as many nutrients as possible.
- Fresh ginger is preferred. Peel the ginger and grind or finely chop it. If you don’t have fresh ginger, use ginger paste or powder instead.
- Most people use bouillon powder (stock powder) for their soup. This will be mixed with water (in the saucepan) and make a delicious broth. Both chicken or vegetable bouillon are fine.
- The consistency is entirely up to you. You can add more water for a thinner consistency, or less water if you’d like your soup to be thicker.
- The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients.
Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 12gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0.04mgSodium: 355mgPotassium: 658mgFiber: 14gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3079IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 4mg
Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.
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