Memories of Dubai Creek - Arabic Lentil Soup, Shorbat Addas

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I first tried this delicious simple soup during my first ever visit to the Arab Emirates in 2008. I have loved lentils for a long time, often cooking them with onion and tomato and spices either as a stew of a soup. But I never knew about this bright yellow, fantastically tasty soup.

We were visiting my husband’s family, staying in a lovely Jumeirah Beach hotel in the Dubai Marina area that was just being built then. I remember us watching across the water the silhouette of the Palm Atlantis hotel which was also then under construction. We called it the Taj Mahal because it looked so grand.


On the memorable lentil soup day, we had been spending the morning on the beach and the pool and afternoon sight-seeing. We’d been to the Dubai museum and just walking along the bustling creek. The sun was starting to go down and we wanted a little bite to eat but nothing massive as his family tended to feed us every evening profoundly. We found a relaxed looking restaurant-cafe by the water, or rather on the water, on a deck. We both ordered the lentil soup which came with the local flat bread of course and slices of lemon.


I remember the happy moment sipping our soups and cups of tea in the warm early evening with the foreign (to me at least) smells and sounds around us. We watched the sinking sun light up the creek water the lingering heat of the day on our faces. It was one of those moments in life when everything is perfect and time should just stop.

Dubai Creek

Abra on Dubai Creek

My first Shorbat Addas

I made the soup tonight, it’s an easy and quick week night meal when you want something satisfying, but healthy and not too heavy. Hubby was happy, every now and then it’s nice to lose yourself in that taste of home.

Shorbat Addas - Arabic lentil soup (serves 4)



1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup red lentils
5 cups water (or even more if you like it thin)
1 chicken stock cube
Salt
3 tbsp lemon

Chop onion, if you plan to blitz the soup you can leave it rough, otherwise chop a bit finer. Mince the garlic.

Heat oil in a deep pan, Fry the onion with a pinch of salt for a few minutes. Add garlic and fry for another minute. Add the carefully rinsed lentils and keep frying for a few minutes more. Add one chicken cube, water, cumin and turmeric. Let simmer covered until the lentils are soft, around half an hour. I like the soup smooth, so I always cream it with a hand blender, but you can serve it chunky. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Check the seasoning. Garnish with fresh parsley if you like.

Serve with flatbread and slices of lemon.

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