Today, Monday Februray 22nd, Copts (Egyptian Christians) begin Jonah’s fast.
During the three-day rigorous vegan fast of Jonah, Copts abstain from food and drinks between midnight and sunset. The tradition goes that to break the fast, fairly austere vegan food is served. No meat, and no diary products are allowed on these three days.
Jonah’s fast symbolizes the three days that Prophet Jonah spent inside the belly of the Great Fish and the subsequent fast as repentance of the Ninevites at the warning message of the prophet Jonah according to the bible.
Back to childhood times, I vividly remember my mom serving Halabesa aka Humos Alsham, a vegan traditional Egyptian soup of chickpeas to break our fast with.
This same cumin-spiked chickpeas broth is considered a typical Egyptian winter street food. The boiling hot broth along with the toasted dry pepper flakes are enough to warm up a weary soul on a bleak winter night.
This soup is best made from scratch with dry chickpeas and NOT the canned ones. Soaking the chickpeas in cold water overnight is a must, before boiling the chickpeas in the vegetables broth.
It is a super easy, vegan, healthy (rich in protein), and exotic dish that takes no more than twenty minutes to put together, but makes a comforting, warming, winter soup.
For more recipes, inspired by my Egyptian Cuisine, follow my instagram @cheznermine.
Halabesa: Homus Alsham: Egyptian Chickpeas Soup: حلبسة او حمص الشام
Recipe Credit to: Chef Vivian Farid
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 cups of chickpeas
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cube of vegetable bouillon, organic, low sodium and GMO free
- 1 grated tomato
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 2 teaspoons of lemon, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- Soak the dry chickpeas in cold water overnight. The second day, drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Make the soup. Add six cups of water to a heavy bottom large pan, add the bouillon and stir until the bouillon is totally dissolved. Toss in the crushed garlic, grated tomatoes, cumin, black pepper. Bring the broth to a gentle simmer for five minutes. Add the chickpeas and let the soup simmer further until the chickpeas are almost cooked through. Toss in the tomato paste, and stir to dilute it in the broth. Add the lemon, the salt and adjust the seasoning. When the chickpeas are cooked through, turn off the heat.
- Serve the Halabesa hot in tall glasses with extra wedges of lemon or lime and dry pepper flakes or tabasco sauce.
- This soup is best made from scratch with dry chickpeas and NOT the canned ones. Soaking the chickpeas in cold water overnight is a must, before boiling the chickpeas in the broth.