Moroccan Steel-Cut Oats Soup (Lahshou) Recipe
Posted on 4th of August, 2011 by Lévana
I couldn’t live without steel-cut oats. Is it any wonder I adore Moroccan Food, my first and most enduring culinary love? Who would believe something like this steel-cut oats soup made with water, some grain and spices can turn up such a fabulous dish? Such is the magic of our beloved Moroccan Seasonings. Just like that French Leo Ferre/Louis Aragon poem/love song, “Oh douce et forte comme un vin!” (sweet and strong like wine), so is the magic of our food. Would you believe I made this for children in summer camp just a few weeks ago? My Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen Cookbook is chock-full of wonderful and incredibly healthy and simple dishes like this steel-cut oats soup.
This is a most unusual combination of flavors, and it works beautifully. We serve it after the fast of Tish’a B’Av. When we were children, we were often given this soup to fortify our diet. We made it with wheat or barley, but steel-cut oats are just as delicious, accommodate gluten-free diets and are ready in no time. I have no doubt the mere funky Arabic name will bring a smile to quite a few cyberfriends out there! I have listed only dry herbs, because I was hoping you would make it, as we did in my native Morocco, for breakfast, when we need to use our time most judiciously, and the soup ends up getting ready in just a few minutes, a whole gallon of it (don’t divide it: It freezes beautifully!) But of course if you have a little more time, by all means use fresh parsley, cilantro and mint.
Fenugreek (Halba) may smell acrid and pungent, but combined with the other ingredients of the soup, is simply wonderful, and is a superfood. It is easy to find in the spice section or in health food store, and is the essential ingredient in this soup, so be sure not to skip it!
If you use all fresh herbs, grind them all in your food processor in a flash.
3 quarts (12 cups) water
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons ground fenugreek
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry cilantro, or a small bunch fresh, stems cut off, minced
1/4 cup dry parsley or a bunch fresh, stems and leaves, minced
1/4 cup dry mint, or a bunch fresh, leaves only, minced (attention, dear North African and Middle-Eastern friends: Look for flayo, dry or fresh, a wild variety of mint, also called Zuta Levana, at your food markets: I found it at the Shuk in Jerusalem, and of course in all Arabic Shuks: it’s fabulous, either as a tea or in cooking)
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 tablespoons paprika
Good pinch red pepper flakes
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium, and cook, covered, 20 minutes. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Makes a dozen ample servings
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