It’s time for the MENA (Middle Eastern & North African) Cooking Group. This monthly group has for goal to help us discover the culture and cuisine of the countries found in these parts of the world. The host of the month will choose a savory and a sweet dish from the country and the members pick one dish to make.
This month we are exploring Djibouti and I chose to go with the Maraq Fahfah (or Somali soup).
Djibouti is in East Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and south, and Somalia to the southeast. The Gulf of Aden lies to the east. The country can be divided into three regions; the coastal plain and volcanic plateaus in the central and southern parts of the country and the mountain ranges in the north. Much of the country is vast wasteland with virtually no arable land.
One attraction is the Lake Abhe on the Ethiopian border. The steaming lake is surrounded by limestone chimneys and a lunar landscape used as the “Forbidden Zone” in Planet of the Apes (wikitravel).
For this challenge we were given the option between Banana Fritters, Skoudehkaris and Maraq Fahfah (or Somali soup). Djiboutian cuisine consists of a mixture of Somali, Afar, Yemeni and French cuisine, with some additional Asian and Indian culinary influences.
Several popular dishes feature seafood and meat, including the Maraq Fahfah soup. This Somali Soup is a traditional Somali recipe for a meat-based soup with vegetables and potatoes and flavored with chili, lemon juice, and coriander.
Maraq Fahfah (Somali Soup)
- 450 g lamb goat or beef meat, cubed
- 2 beef stock cubes
- 1.5 l water
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1/2 head of cabbage chopped
- 1 to mato chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 green chilli finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- Add the meat to a pan, crumble in the beef cubes then cover with the water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 80 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
- Add the potatoes, carrot and cabbage then return to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes before stirring in all the remaining vegetables. Season to taste then stir in the chilli, lemon juice and coriander seeds. Return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Ladle into warmed serving bowls, garnish with coriander leaves and accompany with lahooh, rice or bread.
Our host this month for the MENA cooking group is Amira of Arabian Mama.
Check out more African recipes here:
- Juju Cake from Tanzania
- Djiboutian Sabaayad Flatbread
- Egyptian Lentil Soup
- Uji, a Kenyan Fermented Porridge
This is not how we make our soup clearly you put your own white wash taste to it smh
Thanks for your feedback Kay. I used the recipe that everyone posts on the internet so it sounded legit. how would you modify it to make it more authentic?
Really sorry for the comment from Kay, it was very insensitive. I think it is great you are (or were at this point) exploring dishes from Djibouti – a country most people have never even heard of. Everyone makes fahfah differently and this recipe is the foundation of everyone’s fahfah whether they decide to add something or remove others, based on how they were taught. I hope you enjoyed the dish whenever you made it.
Thank you so much Fathiya for your comment, it truly means a lot.
It’s going to rain tomorrow and I love hearty soup like this on rainy day! I love learning new dish, yet ingredients are all familiar so we can just start cooking it! 😉
A couple of years ago I did “a little” exploration of African cuisine and was surprised at what I found. Like this soup, a lot more spices and flavors than expected. This is a fantastic soup – very hardy and healthy and comforting. What a fun group!
I recently did a bit of research of African cuisine for a uni assignment- the culture is so different from anything I’ve ever seen. And there’s so much I want to try too! I’ve never heard of Djibouti before, but the soup looks great!
Thanks for all the info about Djibouti! The soup looks very hearty and warm!
So much to learn and so much to taste. I always end up learning something new and exciting when I visit your blog.
I could do with this soup right away to help me soothe from a bout of flu I am having.
I am all in for lamb.
This looks so lovely! Thanks for sharing, Evelyne — and for the geography lesson 🙂
What a lovely soup! Delicious and comforting especially with the meat. I’d love to make this tonight.
I just love all the eclectic dishes you bring, Evelyne. This one looks so yummy and hearty!
How did the meat in that soup turn out? It looks fairly similar to some Chinese soups that I’ve had and that meat almost always turns out dry.
Great question Damian. After finishing the soup the meat was hard but I found that when I reheat a portion very slowly on low for like 1 hour the meat gets a lot more tender.
Nice and tasty soup…very hearty!
Have a wonderful week Evelyne 😀
Yum! I’m not familiar with the cuisine of Djibouti, but it sounds tasty!
I love learning about new things and Djibouti is a new one for me!! 😀 Gorgeous soup!
You are so adventurous, Evelyne. I love your chunky soup!
What a delicious and comforting soup,Evelyne! Fun challenge!
G’day Looks like a delicious dish and great photo too Evelyne!
Glad you completed this month’s MENA Djibouti Cuisine challenge too!
Looks like a delicious, hearty soup! We have a cold front rolling through and it’s time to break out some comfort food 🙂
looks hearthy even i’ve never had lamb soup before….
The soup looks warming and delish.
Thanks for joining in dear,You’ve done a great job.Your soup looks delicious.