I came up recently with a new game for Marek. The aim of this game is to widen my sons horizons. My boy is totally and I mean totally obsessed with football. He lives and breathes football to be precise. Although there’s nothing wrong with being passionate football player/maniac I feel that I should make sure that his knowledge about the world we live in is wider than football pitch and he’s not missing out on other things.
So every day we google at least 2 facts about world. It could be anything, we go wild and I must tell you I learned a lot of new stuff myself. The other day Marek asked what people cook/eat in different parts of the world.
So I thought why don’t I take us on a tour….globetrotting tour around world cuisines, right from the heart of our home, from our kitchen. I must say that he’s quite excited by this idea and I enjoyed a little proud mum moment.
He wanted to start with Africa. So my first attempt at this game is going to be Moroccan Harira soup. Main ingredients of this soup are lamb, chickpeas and lentils, tomatoes and spices, it’s bursting with protein and it’s filling enough to be a week day dinner for the whole family.
A few words about health benefits of this dish.I’ll start with legumes. Two types of legumes go into this soup, chickpeas and lentils. Chickpeas are particularly high in fiber. Fiber is vital for our bowel system health. Vitamins C and B-6 and potassium support heart health.Chickpeas are also good for bone health, fight the bad cholesterol and helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Lentils also lower cholesterol and stabilising blood sugar. They’re also very high in fiber which benefits our digestion. Our heart benefit from eating lentils thanks to high levels of folate and magnesium which are big contributors to our heart health.
Tomatoes are very special too they contain one of the most powerful antioxidants …. lycopene well known for help to prevent cancer, keep your eyes healthy and your bones strong a improves heart health. Good news is that antioxidant activities are actually enhanced during the cooking process…not bad for a humble cooked tomato.
Lamb meat is rich in iron and great source of healthy fats like Omega- 3 fatty acids which can help fight inflammation, depression and anxiety, can reduce symptoms ADHD in children and asthma in children.
Lamb can promote brain health during pregnancy and early life and several studies have shown that higher omega-3 intake is linked to decreased age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer Disease.
I shaped lamb into meatballs as I know Marek loves them but it’s entirely up to you if you do it or not.
Our “trip” to Morocco was a great success we all absolutely loved this soup. It was delicious and very easy to cook. I really can’t wait what part of the world is Marek going to pick next.
2 tbsp oil
500g minced lamb
1 onion chopped
400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 ripe medium tomatoes
1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
60g red lentils
600ml cold water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
25g soup noodles
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground pepper to taste
Garnish with chopped fresh coriander, lemon slices and ground cinamon
Heat the oil in a large pan or flameproof casserole dish and fry the lamb and onion for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Peel the tomatoes, if you wish, by plunging them into boiling water to loosen the skins. Wait for them to cool a little before peeling of the skins. Cut them into quarters and add to the lamb with the herbs and spices.
Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, then drain the chickpeas. Add both to the pan with the water.
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the baby onions or small shallots and cook for a further 30 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the noodles
5 minutes before the of the cooking time.
Serve the soup when the noodles are tender, garnished with the coriander, lemon slices and cinnamon.