Soup for Syria- Jordan

Stories & Pictures | January 21, 2016 | By

11401493_480551745443499_7796546763729829940_nIt is said that one of the first acts of a refugee mother in a camp is to turn on the gas burner and make something for her family. There are 80.000 refugees living in Jordan’s Zaatari Camp. Considered Jordan’s largest fourth city now, like many other camps, its population is predominately made up of women and children. The refugees within the camp are at most 18% of Syrians living within the country and around the capital. Food is always one of the main areas in life to get affected by war and its aftermath, as seen on recent horrific news. 

In light of the events taking place around and within Jordan, my friend and long time resident writer in Amman, Kathy Sullivan arranged last night a ‘Soup for Syria’ home based fund-raising solidarity supper. I was invited to get involved. Hoping that the event will inspire people to run similar functions in their own homes, Kathy was keen to show that charity events need not be lavish and can be done simply and effectively. Inspired by the Lebanese/American restaurateur and cookbook writer/photographer Barbra Abdeni Massaad, her cookbook ‘Soup for Syria’ was a great success with sale profits donated to the UNHCR. See more here : and here:

All proceeds from the event went to a non profit organization helping urban refugees in Jordan. With a menu consisting of three vegetable based soups, I decided to go for shorbet freekeh. A highly nutritious grain with ancient usage in the Levantine Arab kitchen, freekeh has a robust flavour due to the roasting process it goes through.IMG_1510 


Freekeh Soup
Serves 16
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 1 Whole chicken, cleaned and roasted in the oven
  2. 2.5 cups dried freekeh, washed and stones picked out
  3. 3 litres drinking water
  4. 1.5 large onion chopped/ keep any scraps left behind for boiling in stock later
  5. 2 tablespoon tomato puree (add teaspoon brown sugar to it)
  6. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  7. 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  8. 1 carrot for stock
  9. Salt & Pepper
  1. Clean and roast chicken as normally and once cooled down separate the bones form the meat. Pour cold drinking water in the pot and gently boil the bones for 30 minutes with few root vegetables. Once turned off, let bones and veggies sit in water for another hour (to enhance taste).
  2. Remove the bones and vegetables and strain the stock.
  3. In the same pot fry the chopped onions until translucent (10 minutes with salt)
  4. Add and fry the washed/strained freekeh and turn gently for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook it for few minutes and add the vegetable cube. Let it all boil gently for 10/15 minutes. I prefer a little bite to the freekeh. Boil for longer, if you like it tender..
  5. Once you have turned off under the soup, that's when I would drop in the chicken meat and chopped parsley. Bon Appetite
  1. Let the freekeh sit in a bowl of cold water, most unwanted bits will float up and can be scooped out. I found that freekeh needs to be washed thoroughly until water run through is clear.
  2. Also you could use any root vegetables like carrots, celery sticks, scraps of onion skin for the stock.
  3. Like frying rice, I tend to turn the freekeh gently when frying in order not to break the grain.
A Life On A Plate



  1. Leave a Reply

    January 21, 2016

    Amazing soup….thank you lara

  2. Leave a Reply

    January 24, 2016

    Looks fantastic! Great initiative.. I will try to make this at the weekend.. Well done Lara!

  3. Leave a Reply

    January 27, 2016

    Sounds good Lara – wish I could have been there to taste it. What a lovely event to be part of ! May you do more xx

    • Leave a Reply

      January 28, 2016

      Thank you vivi for dropping by and encouraging words… yes Ill make it for you when in England. we just need the cracked wheat

  4. Leave a Reply

    February 1, 2016

    Hi Lara, Soup for Syria is a great initiative by Barbara – such a worthy cause – and. I love your idea of the fund raiser. Good on you.

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