Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 96! Libya - Shorbat bil Hoot (Fish Soup) with Kammon Hoot (Spice Paste) - Up Next, Liechtenstein

Friday.....Yay! Tonight's Libyan meal was easy to prepare, healthy and smelled as good as it looked. The use of chili peppers and kammon hoot (spice paste - recipe below), make this a uniquely spicy and exotic tasting soup.  I loved the addition of orzo to the soup, and the homemade fish stock really kicked up the flavor factor which my family enthusiastically endorsed. Okay - my younger boy did cook up 3 Boars Head hot dogs 20 minutes later, but the rest of us were perfectly happy with big steaming bowls of soup and crusty bread.

Libya is a North African country located on the Mediterranean Sea. It boarders Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia (a country that's in the news today due to civil unrest). The 4th largest country in Africa and 17th largest in the world, Libya enjoys relative wealth due to large petroleum reserves and moderately low population. Interestingly, Libya is the only country in the world whose solid green national flag has no symbols or decorations on it.

Cuisine in Libya is heavily influenced by Mediterranean and North African traditions as well as Italian cooking, as it was once an Italian colony. Onions, tomatoes, lamb, chicken, fish, chilies, cayenne peppers, saffron, chick peas, cilantro and parsley are all used in Libyan cooking.

Fish Soup (Shorbat bil Hoot) - (Adapted from Celnet)

2 pieces of firm sea fish (I used Haddock because it was on sale)
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. tomato puree
1 tsp kammon hoot (recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red chili, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
2 Tbsp. orzo pasta
2 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Olive oil to fry

Bring 6 cups of lightly-salted water to a boil, add the fish then cover, take off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft and translucent (about 8 minutes), then stir-in the garlic, tomato sauce, tomato puree, chillies, turmeric and kammon hoot. Fry for 2 minutes then add the fish stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 8 minutes.

With a slotted spoon remove the fish from the poaching water. Strip the fish meat from its bones then flake the flesh and add to the tomato-based sauce. Now add the remainder of the fish poaching liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir-in the pasta and stir to combine.

Add the parsley and coriander and stir to combine then take the pan off the heat, cover and set aside for about 6 minutes. Ladle into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately accompanied with bread.

Kammon Hoot

1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. mint
3 tsp. cumin seeds
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp. coriander seeds
15 dried hot red chillies

Cover chillies with hot water and let stand for 15 minutes until soft. Place chillies and remaining ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth using water that the chillies soaked in to thin it. The sauce should have the consistency of thick paste. If you place the paste in a jar and cover with a thin film of olive oil, it will keep a couple of months in the refrigerator.


tobias cooks! said...

Great idea you are having there. I like your blog.

I am doing a food blog event on Mediterranean food. This months topic is Libya. Maybe you want to participate!
Her is the link to the event. Check it out!

sadie said...

Love your blog! I just subscribed, so now I can follow your wonderful Mediterranean recipes too!