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New Israeli Recipes: Couscous Soup


Last week, Janna Gur, author of The Book of New Israeli Food, posted some insightful and entertaining stories about her book.  In light of this week’s holiday bonanza, Janna has graciously provided us with some of her new Israeli recipes to help spice up your meals. Enjoy, Jewcers!

Traditional Couscous Soup

This is the vegetarian version of the exotically fragrant Moroccan soup that is served with couscous. Use the same procedure to prepare couscous soup with chicken (see below).

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

1 cup chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight, rinsed and drained
4 carrots, cut into 2-3 large chunks
4 medium potatoes, quartered
1 large onion, quartered
Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper to taste
Small pinch of saffron or 11/2 teaspoons turmeric
200 g (7 oz) pumpkin, cut into 4-5 large chunks
4 courgettes (zucchini), cut into 3-4 large chunks
Half a green cabbage, quartered
4-5 stalks celery stalks, peeled and cut coarsely (save the leaves)
1/2 kg (1 lb 2 oz) instant couscous


1. Put the chickpeas in a large saucepan, cover with water and cook for about 30 minutes. Drain, pour in 2 liters (2 quarts) of water (to prevent the soup from becoming cloudy later on), and cook for another 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are tender.

2. Add the carrots, potatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, saffron or turmeric and cook for 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

3. Add the remaining vegetables (except the celery leaves) and cook for 15 minutes, until tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the celery leaves and cook for another 15 minutes.

4. Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Place a heap of couscous in a deep dish. Arrange the vegetables on top  and ladle the soup around and over the couscous.

Red Couscous Soup

When adding the pumpkin, cabbage and courgettes (zucchini), add one small can (300 g, 1012 oz) of tomatoes in tomato  paste and continue according to the recipe.

Spicy Couscous Soup

Add 1-2 tablespoons of filfel chuma (p. 296) or harissa (p. 298) towards the end of the cooking cycle.

Couscous Soup With Chicken

Add 6-8 chicken drumsticks for the last 30 minutes of the cooking cycle.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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