Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours pretty much unattended
1 cup chick peas, soaked overnight or quick-soaked — see tip
pinch saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
750 g lean beef (or lamb) cut into small cubes, no more than 2cm
2 large onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large can (810g) tomatoes
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup freshly chopped coriander
freshly ground black pepper
1.5L water, beef stock or mixture of the two
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and cleaned of any impurities
100g vermicelli, broken into pieces (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup water or stock
Soak the saffron threads in hot water. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and brown the beef and onion until both are golden, in batches. Add the celery and the tomatoes to the pan, breaking up with tomatoes with a fork. Stir through the ginger, turmeric, saffron and water, cinnamon, coriander and black pepper.
When well combined add 1.5L water or stock, the lentils and drained chickpeas. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and reduce heat to a simmer for 2 hours or until the meat and chickpeas are tender. Add the lightly beaten egg, stirring the soup so that it makes strands. Add the vermicelli if desired and cook until tender. Blend the flour with a cup of water or stock until smooth. Stir through the soup and continue to stir until it again begins to boil. Simmer at least 1 minute longer. Season with salt and more pepper if necessary. Remove cinnamon stick. Serve with a squeeze from the lemon wedges into each bowl and some crusty bread on the side.
Lyndey’s Note: To quick soak chickpeas cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes and repeat.