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How to make this comforting freekeh soup

Nutritious, flavoursome and easy to eat - perfect for the end of a busy day
The basics of freekeh soup are meat stock - and burnt wheat (@framed_by_rania)

After a day of fasting during Ramadan, Muslims need a healthy meal at iftar which is nutritious, hot and comforting. That is why soup is a great meal to break the fast.

Soup is rich in water, which hydrates the body after fasting, as well as being flavoursome and nutritious. It bursts with protein and fibre, holding all the minerals and vitamins in the water.  And it is also easy to eat, which makes it a great meal for kids and the elderly.  

Soup is a great meal choice to break the fast

For me, freekeh soup, which uses meat stock as its foundation, is one of the best dishes during Ramadan.

Freekeh itself is a common staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. It is derived from wheat, which is harvested early while the grains are still tender and green. The seeds are then dehydrated, roasted, dried and cleaned.

The name freekeh (an Arabic word which means “to rub” or “the rubbed one") is derived from the way the seeds are prepared.

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Legend has it that this dish originated thousands of years ago, when a village was besieged and the supply of raw, green wheat caught fire. The villagers cleverly discovered that they could save the grains by rubbing away the burnt parts to reveal the roasted wheat seeds inside.


Legend is that freekeh evolved from a village under siege (@framed_by_rania)

Serves: 8

Preparation time: 1 hour

1. Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200g) of washed, soft freekeh
  • 5 cups (1.3l) meat stock
  • 0.5 kg (1.1lbs) chopped lamb
  • 1 large, roughly diced onion
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground cardamom
  • parsley for garnish

2. Method

The soup uses few ingredients to conjure up a complex taste (@framed_by_rania)
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan at a high heat, add the onion and cook until tender.
  2. Add the freekeh to the hot oil, then add the meat.
  3. After the meat is fried and browned, add the meat stock and leave until it comes to the boil.
  4. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat, put the lid on and let it cook for an hour.
  5. After the meat and freekeh are fully cooked and the soup has thickened, add salt and cardamom to taste.
  6. Finally, add the parsley to enrich the taste and create a beautiful green colour
That sprig of parsley is the final touch (@framed_by_rania)

You can follow Rania on her Instagram account @framed_by_rania.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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