Soup in the tables of Algerians.. Soup is present throughout the month of Ramadan

The fasting person opens his breakfast with it, and it is considered one of the dishes rich in vegetables and meat

Published in: Mar 23, 2023: 12:41 PM GST
Last updated: Mar 23, 2023: 01:37 PM GST

Algerians have a special relationship with soup, as there is no house without the smell of this dish that decorates tables for a whole month, and for many, announcing the return of the month of Ramadan is an advertisement for eating “soup”.

Historians differed on the origin of the soup. Some say that its name goes back to the Ottoman Empire, and there are those who refer it to the Persian, and there are those who believe that it is an Andalusian dish. And in the Arabic language, “shorba” means a drink or a dose of water, i.e. the amount of water that is quenched. “” means salted and “ba” means food eaten with a spoon.

Soup is usually eaten in Algeria with “Alburak”, which is a traditional bread prepared in homes, in areas such as Blida, the capital and Tipaza. Baya, a housewife, proudly talks about the soup dish, saying: “It is the dish that cannot be abandoned during the month of Ramadan. It is prepared after a trip we make to search for what is called freekeh, which is obtained from ears of wheat and barley.”

The dish “freekeh soup”, which families usually accept, consists of onions, fresh and processed tomatoes, a quantity of meat and chickpeas soaked in water, and there are other additions such as “qasbar”, which is known locally as “pickled hashish”, celery, mint and some other spices that make this dish delicious. Like “black pepper,” which is the most widely used type of spice in Algeria, along with cinnamon. These ingredients are fried over a fire with local ghee, and “freek” in a natural green color, prepared in homes in a traditional way, is finally added to it.

Algerians were able to preserve the “shorba” dish for decades and pass it on to their children, and a report by “CNN” at the beginning of 2022 ranked the Algerian “shorba” ranked sixth in the ranking of the 20 best types of soup in the world.

Soup usually bears other names from one region to another. In central Algeria, it is called “soup” or “frik”, while in the eastern Algerian it is often called “jari”, while in western Algeria it is called “harira dish” and it is prepared in a different way. From its predecessor, and other areas call it “shisha”, but they are names related to everything that families in these areas used to do.

Historical references agree that the origin of “al-Harira” is Andalusian, and the traveler Ibn Battuta spoke about its origins in the book “Tuhfat al-Nazra fi Gharaib al-Amsa wa’l-Aja’ al-Asfar.” He said that al-Harira is a complete meal that spreads in Andalusia and is made from wheat, corn, flour and barley. It then spread to the Arab Maghreb countries, especially in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. While other studies say that this dish knocked on the doors of Algeria in 902 AD by Andalusian sailors with the support of the Emirs of Cordoba who came to establish the city of Oran.

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