Bessara is a traditional dish of Iran made with beef, onion, cinnamon, bay leaves, black pepper and lemon juice. It’s served with garlic oil and cumin.

This is a traditional Egyptian dish. It is made with cumin, lemon, garlic, and olive oil.


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This delicious soup is often offered as a substantial workers’ breakfast in its native Morocco, from street vendors and hole-in-the-wall cafés. With such a basic pulse-based meal, getting the flavor just right is essential for lifting it from possibly boring to really exquisite, and here, a sprinkling of spice and a generous drizzle of lemon and garlic oil make this soup sing.

Methods Explained in Detail

  • Step No 1

    In a small, heavy-based saucepan placed over a low heat, combine 200ml olive oil, the lemon rind, and the sliced garlic to make the lemon and garlic oil. Allow 30 minutes for the oil to warm slowly and gradually. It shouldn’t boil; instead, it should gently simmer, with the occasional small bubble breaching the surface. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to infuse until ready to serve.

  • Step No 2

    Toast the cumin seeds and chilli flakes in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Put them in a pestle and mortar and crush roughly as soon as you can smell their fragrance rising up from the pan.

  • Step No 3

    2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over low heat to soften gradually without colouring. Be patient as this will take around 30 minutes. Add the smashed garlic and half of the ground spices when the onion is meltedly soft, and simmer for a couple of minutes more.

  • Step No 4

    Bring the split peas, stock, and split peas to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are soft and collapsed. Using a stick blender or a liquidiser, puree the soup until velvety smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then keep heated over a low heat.

  • Step No 5

    Using a fine strainer, strain the lemon and garlic oil, discarding the lemon peel and garlic pieces. The oil will last at least a couple of weeks in a clean, covered container.

  • Step No 6

    Serve the soup in deep bowls or cups with the remaining spices and the lemon and garlic oil poured on top.

Bessara is a soup from the Indian cuisine. It is made with cumin, garlic, and lemon and has a light citrus flavor. Reference: bessara soup.

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