Maushawa: Afghani Bean & Meatball Soup

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This wonderful soup is thick and hearty like a stew. The flavors reminded me of Greek Moussaka or Pastitsio – because of the use of yogurt and cinnamon. It is healthy and FABULOUS!! This recipe was adapted from The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook by Tess Mallos. I replaced some of the water with stock, substituted ground turkey for beef or lamb and long grain basmati rice for short grain rice, increased the tomatoes, decreased the oil, and used canned kidney beans and Greek yogurt. This version is not spicy at all but more chili powder could be added to taste. We ate it with naan on the side. I am adding it to my annual soup rotation next year!

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

For the Base:

  • 15 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 cup split mung beans
  • 1 cup white basmati rice or short-grain white rice
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

To Finish:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (I used 2 percent)
  1. Rinse the kidney beans, chana dal and mung beans and place in a soup pot with 7 cups stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse the rice and add to the pan with the salt. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the meat with the seasonings and shape into balls the size of hazelnuts. (I used 1 tsp per meatball.)
  4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high and fry the onion until translucent and lightly brown.
  5. Add the meatballs to the onion and fry, stirring often, until browned. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add meatball mixture to the bean mixture, another 2 cups water, and the dill. Bring to a boil, then add the yogurt, stirring over low heat until almost boiling.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and chili powder, if desired.
  8. Serve hot with naan or lavash on the side.

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