Egyptian Lentil Soup (Shawrbat 'Adas Misriya)

In Egypt, from the days of the Pharaohs until the present time, lentil soup has been on the menu. The Qur'an mentions that one of the foods the Jews in Sinai asked Moses to provide was lentils. The following lentil soup, could possibly have been made, with the exception of the tomato, a New World discovery, in the same fashion at the time of Moses and the Pharaohs.

Serves / Yields: 6


  • 5 cups Vegetable Stock (optional)
  • 1 cups split brown lentils, washed and drained
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp lemon juice no


  1. Place vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to boil.
  2. Add lentils, two-thirds of the onions, tomatoes, and garlic, and bring again to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils become tender, adding more water if necessary.
  4. While lentils are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and saute remaining onions over medium heat, stirring frequently until they turn golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Puree lentil mixture in a blender, then return to saucepan and reheat, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Place soup into soup bowls and top with fried onions.

Variation Notes:

  • For a Bahraini version, omit the fried onion garnish and do not puree the lentils.
  • Add 1/4 cup broken vermicelli, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and a pinch of cayenne toward the end of the cooking time and more water if necessary.
  • Cook until the noodles are done.


Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum


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Egyptian Lentil Soup (Shawrbat 'Adas Misriya)