Whether or not you fast for Ramadan, this soup hits the spot

  • Chorba is made all over the Middle East, Europe, Northern Africa and other regions. The vegetables vary, the spices vary, the meat varies. It's one of those many dishes that has crossed many borders and morphed along with way.

    Chorba is made all over the Middle East, Europe, Northern Africa and other regions. The vegetables vary, the spices vary, the meat varies. It's one of those many dishes that has crossed many borders and morphed along with way. J.M. Hirsch/Associated Press

  • Lamb Chorba is made all over the Middle East, Europe, Northern Africa and other regions. The vegetables vary, the spices vary, the meat varies. It's one of those many dishes that has crossed many borders and morphed along with way.

    Lamb Chorba is made all over the Middle East, Europe, Northern Africa and other regions. The vegetables vary, the spices vary, the meat varies. It's one of those many dishes that has crossed many borders and morphed along with way. J.M. Hirsch/Associated Press

 
Updated 6/1/2016 6:11 AM

Truth: What I knew about Ramadan and the foods that are eaten to break the fast previously could have fit in a grain of millet. But it's never too late to learn, and nothing makes a culture more accessible than delving into its food.

One of the foods commonly eaten to break the fast is chorba, which means soup in Arabic. And like soups, chorbas can be made in infinite ways, though most often chorba is associated with a hearty Moroccan soup made from vegetables and chickpeas, usually with diced lamb and some sort of pasta or grain.

 

Chorba is made all over the Middle East, Europe, Northern Africa and other regions. The vegetables vary, the spices vary, the meat varies. It's one of those many dishes that has crossed many borders and morphed along with way.

I decided to use lamb, the classic meat for this soup/stew, and millet as the grain, which holds up nicely in soups and stews, retaining its texture and shape. Harissa is used in cooking and as a condiment by Moroccans, as well as other cultures, and it's a wonderfully spiced chili paste that adds heat and complexity to all kinds of dishes.

So while I don't know a lot about Ramadan, I know more than I did a week ago. I also know that my family is not going to be sorry to see this soup appear on the table again, any time of year.

• Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/

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