hssoua belboula (Moroccan barley and milk soup, optionally vegan)
recipe under the cut!
- 1 cup (200g) barley grits, or pearl barley ground into a coarse meal in a spice / coffee grinder
- 5 ¾ cups (135cl) water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups (50cl) whole milk (or soy milk plus 2 tbsp vegan margarine–to mimic the higher fat content of whole milk)
- 2 tbsp butter or vegan margarine
- 2/3 cup (16cl) evaporated milk (or 1 1/3 cup soy milk simmered over a low flame until it is halved in volume–don’t allow it to reach a rolling boil). [this should not be confused with sweetened condensed milk! you can also make evaporated milk by simmering dairy milk until its volume is about halved.]
1. pick through the barley grits to remove debris. wash several times in a large bowl until the water comes away clear.
2. combine barley, water, olive oil, salt, cumin, and black pepper in a medium-sized pot. bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the barley grits are tender (this time may differ depending on how fine or coarse your grits are).
3. stir in the whole milk (or soy milk and margarine) and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes.
4. remove from heat and stir in the butter (or margarine) and evaporated milk. taste and adjust spices.
* you can adjust the thickness of this soup by increasing or decreasing the amount of milk and water added, or by using finer or coarser barley grits. you can also make this soup without evaporated milk–just replace half the water with milk.
hssoua is made with barley or semolina and is a common breakfast food during Ramadan. it is eaten with additional cumin and/or olive oil, or sweetened with sugar or honey.