Kishk Soup

Another week, another soup. I can't believe it has actually been a whole week since I last posted. I've had one of the strangest weeks of my life but I think I'll save that story for my autobiography (yeah, right). However, something that kept me going through the past seven days was the promise of good simple autumnal food. This time of year is great for richer, more filling foods and nothing fulfils more than a good bowl of soup and some crusty bread.

One of the things I really associate with this time of year is this version of kishk soup. Kishk is a fermented mixture of dried yoghurt and cracked wheat which is a very popular staple in the mountainous regions of central Lebanon. When I was younger we usually ate kishk as a topping on mana'eesh and even then it was on special occasions. Although my parents made it at home, I always savoured our trips to the local Lebanese bakery where they would make the most exquisite kishk mana'eesh. It wasn't until I was in my teenage years that I started to appreciate kishk soup and how good my parents use of it was. My dad's version in particular is the one that inspired me to have a go and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

2 beef tomatoes - diced
1 medium onion - diced
2 cloves of garlic - crushed
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup of kishk
2-1/2 cups of water
seasoning (if needed)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of almonds
a few parsley leaves

Fry the onions in butter and a little olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for five minutes. Pour in the dried kishk and water into the pan and raise the temperature. You want the soup to be at a gentle boil (a bit further than a simmer). Cook for 10-15 minutes (the soup should get thicker and will continue to do so as you take it off the heat). Taste the soup and season if necessary. In another pan fry the almonds and pine nuts in a little oil until golden brown. Fill a bowl with the soup, scatter on a few of the nuts and top with a few parsley leaves. Serve with crusty bread.


2 November 2009 at 16:11 Phoo-D said...

What an interesting ingredient! I've never tried kishk but the soup looks delicious.

8 November 2009 at 12:16 M. A. Salha said...

Thanks! Kishk is one of those things that is so quintessentially Lebanese but very few people know about it. If you ever see it on a menu I'd urge you to try it - it's delicious!

9 November 2009 at 03:56 Anonymous said...

Enjoyed preparing this recipe today, and the soup was delicious.

The fellow at the local Middle Eastern grocery got a worried look on his face when I bought the kishk and told me, 'White people don't realize that it's supposed to be a little sour, and they always end up returning it thinking that it's spoiled.' So he was relieved when I told him that I knew what it was.

Thanks for the effort you put into these posts. The photography is beautiful, and I think this has become my new favorite food blog.

Much love from Chicago.

11 November 2009 at 11:10 M. A. Salha said...

vapureffect - I'm glad it worked for you. Haha - I didn't ever think of that. I had a similar reaction when I first asked for natto at the local Japanese supermarket. Thanks for the love! Chicago is high up on my list of places I want to go to (all stoked by a certain Mr. Bourdain). Hopefully soon!

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