In Algeria, it is an absolute must to break your fast with this fool-proof starter. It is a tomato soup with shredded chicken and lamb, with bourghoul added for texture. You can substitute egg noodles for burghol, if you prefer.
Algerians traditionally have it as the first course during Ramadan, accompanied by another major dish like olive tajine, coupled with a salad and of course bread. Perfect for a winter night and best served steaming hot.
– 1 tomato
– 2 onions, peeled
– 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
– 2 chicken breast fillets
– 250g of lamb fillet, cut into sizeable chunks
– 2-3tsp of salt*
– 3tsp of white pepper*
– 4tsp of paprika*
– 2-3 tsp of dried coriander (cosbor)*
– 2-3tsp of olive oil*
– 3-4tbsp of tomato paste*
– Freshly chopped coriander
– ¼ cup of burghol (freek)
*Arabs tend to eyeball everything, and don’t believe in exact measurements, and Algerians are definitely no exception. So I advise you to go with what you’re comfortable with on the seasoning.
- Quarter the tomato and onions, and blend them along with the garlic in a food processor. Make sure to add a bit of water so that the paste won’t stick.
- Clean the chicken breasts and place into a large pot. Cut off any excess fat on the lamb chunks and place into the pot as well.
- Pour the tomato/onion paste into the pot, and season to your heart’s content with the following: salt, olive oil, white pepper, paprika and dried coriander. Add the tomato paste (I would put in two loaded wooden spoonfuls of it). On medium-high heat, bring the mixture to the boil.
- In the meantime, boil 1.5L of water in an electric kettle (or whatever is the maximum limit on your kettle). This will cut down on cooking time.
- Hold the meat and chicken to one side of the pot as you pour in the boiling water, as this will prevent from rendering it bland. Once full, allow the soup to boil until the lamb is cooked through (we all know chicken cooks faster, it’s the lamb that you should be worried about). Add pinches of fresh coriander while it’s cooking and stir through. Do this a few times.
- Once the lamb is cooked through, add the burghol or egg noodles and allow the soup to simmer for another 15 -20 minutes, or once the burghol/egg noodles have gone soft.
- Pull the chicken fillets out, place them on a plate and shred them. They should peel away like flower petals. Place the now shredded fillets back into the pot.
- Turn heat off, ladle soup into the many bowls that you have hidden in your kitchen, and garnish with fresh coriander.
Ya’teek assehha wal hana and enjoy!
By Ryma Tchier
Ryma is a Bachelor of Arts (Media)/B of Laws student at Maquarie University and hopes that her degree will enable her to do some good in the world. She’s a major bookworm with a self-proclaimed “kiss of death”, whereby every book she reads ultimately becomes too popular for its own good and finds itself turned into a motion picture. Oh the horror.