Egyptian lentil soup (shorbet ads)

It's comforting, nourishing, delicious and nostalgic. Shorbet ads is humble but spectacular. It's made with pantry ingredients and costs almost nothing to make. It's not pretentious food but boy does it pack a flavour punch. Simple lentil soup but dressed up with spices and herbs to really take you somewhere special. 

Some like vermicelli noodles in their soup. Some don't. I like to prepare some on a side plate and people can help themselves to the amount that suits them. Just remember the soup thickens as it sits and it will thicken with the addition of noodles so add more water as needed when cooking.

Serves 6


1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 tomato, quartered
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups red lentils, washed and drained
3 cups water (more as needed)
1 bunch fresh coriander. chopped
Juice of half a lemon or lime
Salt and pepper

Fried spices (ta'leya) and toppings

3 tbsp canola oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
Vermicelli noodles (optional)


In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the vegetables, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the lentil and water. Bring to the boil. Skim impurities from the surface and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are soft.

Remove the bay leaves and puree until smooth. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Set aside while you prepare the fried spices.

In a small pan heat the oil and then add the garlic and spices. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and bubbling. The garlic should be sizzling but not burnt. Pour directly over the soup and stir through. Add the fresh coriander and check the consistency of the soup. Always add more water if it thickens too much. Serve immediately.

Crush some noodles and toss them in the pot pan for a few minutes. Then add enough water to just cover them. Let them boil until the noodles absorb the water and soften. Serve on a side plate for people to help themselves.