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Monks' soup - Kibet el rahib

Photo: Quentin Jones

This old dish used to be eaten by Lord Jesus Christ himself supposedly...


  • 1½ cups (300g) brown lentils, washed and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice or 2 tbsp
  • pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Lebanese bread, to serve
  • Dumplings
  • ½ cup (80g) fine burghul, washed and drained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp salt


To make the dumplings, mix together the ingredients. Gradually add a quarter cup (60 millilitres) of water until you achieve a dough-like consistency. Form a half

teaspoon of dough into a little round dumpling. Repeat with the remaining mixture and set aside.

Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. When the water starts to boil, add one cup (250 millilitres) of cold water (this prevents the lentils from splitting), then cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Carefully add the dumplings, then stir in the garlic, lemon juice or pomegranate molasses, salt and oil. Cover and cook over medium heat for a further 30 minutes.

Serve immediately with Lebanese bread or store covered in the refrigerator and eat within a few days.

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