Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)
02 Jun 2017

Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

02 Jun 2017

Ramadan mubarak, everyone!  Because of the fasting month, we get to leave work an hour early, and this has given me the opportunity to be home early enough to make something for buka puasa.

When Mummy went for her umrah earlier this year, the place she was staying at served a nice lentil soup that she liked very much.  I figured it’d be nice to make her something that she likes, and despite not having much to go by in terms of description (“It’s a nice smooth puree.”), I searched around for possible recipes.  I needed something simple enough which uses fairly common ingredients, so I decided on this highly rated one on BBC Good Food.

This took me two tries to get right.  My first time making this, I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it as written.  While the flavor was very nice, the lentils weren’t tender enough despite the recipe’s reassurance that no pre-soaking was necessary.  I made this again the next day, this time soaking the lentils beforehand and then cooking it using my Philips electric pressure cooker.  The results were wonderful, and Mummy cleaned her bowl with her bread.

Update: Be sure to take your time to sautee the onions.  They should be nicely browned and caramelized after 5 minutes.  Makes a huge difference to the flavor!

A delicious, hearty soup which can be a meal of its own, and very authentic, as verified by my mom.  Give it a try!

Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow lentils, soaked for 3 to 4 hours
  • 2 (or 1 1/2 if you want it less salty) chicken stock cubes, diluted in 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin (jintan putih)
  • Handful of chopped celery leaves (daun sup)
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon (or 1/2 a small lemon)


Heat oil in a pan and gently sautee the chopped onions for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic, turmeric and cumin and continue cooking for a few minutes more.

Transfer the onions to your pressure cooker pot.  Stir in the lentils, add the stock and cook using the “Soup” setting, 20 minutes.  When the timer is up, release the pressure using the steam vent, and wait until the floater has dropped before removing the lid.

(Optional step) Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth.  The soup should look like a puree already, but do this step if you want it really smooth.

Toss in the celery leaves…

…and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve with chunks of crusty bread, such as country white.

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