Recipes | Soup for Syria: spiced red lentil soup


Soup for Syria: spiced red lentil soup

I don't often post commercial recipes but this delicious soup from London restaurant Arabica Bar & Kitchen is being promoted in a very good cause.

All profits from the soup, which they're selling in their restaurant throughout January, are being donated to 'Soup for Syria', the humanitarian cookbook project fronted by food writer Barbara Abdeni Massaad. The money raised will go to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to help provide urgently needed food relief for Syrian refugees.

Serves 4 generously


3 tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp ras el hanout

½ tsp urfa chilli flakes

1 bay leaf

2 tsp tomato paste

200g red lentils

3 tsp pomegranate molasses

1- 1.2 litres hot water

Sea salt to taste

Black pepper

To finish

Fresh thyme leaves


Fried onions or shallots (Available from any oriental supermarket)

Black pepper


Peel and finely dice the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and cook on a low heat until they soften, become translucent and give off their natural sweetness.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, and ras el hanout and continue to cook on a low heat for further minute stirring continuously.

Add the tomato paste, red lentils and slowly add 1 litre of boiling water mixing as you go. Finally add the pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil. Skim the surface if necessary. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes or till the lentils are fully cooked and begin to break down.

Blend the soup to a smooth consistency and season with salt to taste. If the soup is too thick add more water.

To serve ladle into deep soup bowls, drizzle with olive oil, liberally sprinkle with crispy onions, a pinch of cracked black pepper, a few fresh thyme leaves and a tiny pinch of citrusy sumac.

What to drink: I'm not sure you really need anything to drink with this apart from water - I mean it is January, right? But I wouldn't say no to a glass of Domaine des Tourelles red from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon

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Comments: 3 (Add)

John W on March 2 2016 at 06:34

Now made and was much appreciated, great thanks

Fiona Beckett on February 24 2016 at 07:53

Yes, at same time as ras el hanout I would say

John W on February 23 2016 at 22:21

Just got hold of urfa chilli flakes and then discover not mentioned in the method. Presumably add at the same time as the garlic etc....

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