Thursday, March 2, 2017

Syrian Yogurt Soup + More Than Food


Today we are sharing the story of Suad and her family. As effectively as her recipe for this yogurt and rice soup. Suad is a single of the two,seven million Syrian refugees at present living in Turkey and this post is about bringing attention to their plight. I shared this story on instagram but needed to take the chance to do it right here as nicely.

The United Nations Globe Food Programme (WFP) and the European Commission asked if we would be interested in meeting Syrian refugees residing in and outdoors of camps in Turkey to deliver house some of their stories, learn how contemporary foods aid is operating and discover the different elements of food. It was doubtless the most meaningful request we have ever acquired and anything we genuinely desired to do. Timing wise it wasn’t perfect as I had to depart Luise alone with the youngsters while she was 36 weeks pregnant. But she gave her blessing. So a few weeks in the past, I went on this mission. I flew to Istanbul, Turkey on an early flight and then on to a domestic flight to Hatay, a number of miles from the Syrian border. Throughout my days there, I visited a refugee camp to see how it operates and talked to some of the men and women living there. I acquired to know the WFP personnel and was amazed by their compassion. I was also invited house to a couple of Syrian families residing outside of camps. Their scenario is typically a whole lot far more difficult than within the camps, as they have much more charges and less help but the families were incredibly pleasant and inviting. We talked, drank tea, cooked with each other and shared food.



Apart from Suad, I have also shared Emira’s story on instagram. As effectively as the story of Semira, who works as a Field Keep track of Assistant for WFP and is one of the strongest and most loving individuals I have ever met. I have also written about the E-cards that WFP have developed with assist from the European Commission to support refugees and give them the capability to store and choose food themselves. The journey was part of a initiative that WFP call More Than Foods. Pauline and Rens will also be going on related journeys. Here is a brief video that explains the task and the E-card a bit more.

It is really effortless to seem away from the horrible scenario that is going on in Syria. But I hope that by reading through these stories that do have bright moments in the midst of all the darkness, you will get a better comprehending and openness in direction of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian men and women that have been forced from their residences and don’t want anything more than getting able to return to them 1 day. These folks want to be heard. They are in my heart now and I hope they will be in yours as well.

It was a quite emotional trip and it affected me a lot deeper than I was prepared for. I am still trying to figure out what to comes next. Obviously, we want to continue working with recipe growth and foods photography as it is something we enjoy performing. But it’s my hope and intention that we also will continue operating much more actively with human aid and assistance this result in any way we can in the potential.

Ample about this. Right here is Suad.


(one/five) “I had every little thing prior to the war. My husband and I had been the owners of a supermarket in Aleppo. We lived in a huge and lovely two-story residence in a rural area. All my furnishings was new – nothing at all was 2nd hand – and we had many rooms. There was a massive courtyard outside our property where the children played and rode their bicycles.“


This is the story of Suad. She is Syrian and fled from her house with each other with her family when the conflict came to her town, 4 many years in the past. Suad is nine months pregnant and lives with her husband, their two sons Ahmed (ten many years) and Muhammed (6 years) and their daughter Nurulhuda (12 many years) in a little one-bedroom apartment in a rundown developing in the previous town of Antakya in Turkey, near to the Syrian border. Her dad and mom and sisters live in an apartment a single floor up. Her husband now functions as a tailor so they can shell out the lease. Even although they have lost almost everything, Suad is not broken. Her power and pride actually received to me. They can’t afford decorating their property but have alternatively produced paper and textile decorations and drawings that are covering the walls inside, making it significantly less a lodging and far more of a property.
I had the honour to be welcomed into her residence and I spent a day together with her and her household, listening to their story, consuming many cups of tea, going to the supermarket and preparing a dinner together.

(two/five) “Back in Aleppo, we renovated our kitchen totally when we acquired married. It looked extremely nice. It was a huge, brilliant kitchen with a massive marble countertop. The kitchen was the colour of cappuccino and some of the cabinets had glass doors. I utilised to spot some of my finest colourful vases and glasses there, so you could see them via the glass.”


I was invited into Suad’s kitchen to assist her in dinner preparations. There have been no marble countertops. And no glass doors. But she nonetheless placed her ideal searching glasses and plates on the shelf over the sink, hiding the rest behind a curtain her husband had sewn. Due to the modest area, we did all chopping and preparations whilst sitting on the living area rug. The loved ones laughed at my problems sitting with my legs crossed on the floor doing the chopping and they kept telling me that the tomatoes necessary to be far more finely chopped for the tabbouleh. Her mother also pointed out that I had quite thorough knife abilities (which means slow).

(3/5) “My mom-in-law taught me most of these recipes in Aleppo, as she was residing in our home. And cooking this reminds me of our daily life there. Now, my mother lives in the exact same residence as us, so I am truly passing these recipes on to her and my daughter as well. Meals indicates sharing to me – with my neighbours, close friends and family. Prior to the conflict, we were a couple of households that took turns inviting every other more than. We baked sweets, cooked meals, ate and sang collectively. Now, the most important thing is to make sure my young children aren’t hungry, but we still share meals with our neighbours, even if it just is a little plate or the smell of our cooking. When we very first arrived, we did not have any cash to purchase elements and therefore we had to eat whatever food was presented for us. But following we had been accredited for the e-food card we have been ready to acquire our personal substances, so now I can cook meals that reminds me of house.”

We prepared a Syrian version of Tabbouleh with cucumber, tomatoes, lemon, lettuce, fresh parsley, fresh and dried mint, pomegranate syrup, tomato paste and a finely textured bulgur. We also did a tasty yogurt, rice and mint soup referred to as Lebeniyye, a fried eggplant dish with tomato sauce named Mutabbaqa and a vegetarian edition of Kepse, which is a flavorful lengthy-grain rice dish topped with toasted almonds and walnuts as an alternative of meat.


(4/five) Me getting a man, a stranger in their property and also a foreigner, I was conscious that my go to would be an awkward circumstance and a tough surroundings for everyone to be relaxed in. And the very first hrs of conversation were quite truthfully extremely polite and trembling. But something took place when we began cooking. After we gathered close to the substances and Suad began explaining the dishes we have been making, she abruptly started smiling. In the full sadness of their circumstance, meals certainly brings out a spark of joy. It connected us. In-in between exchanging chopping boards and mincing veggies, they abruptly started out asking me queries about how we consume in my nation, how my kitchen looks and how we take care of the elderly in our households in Europe (her father gave me a disapproving mutter, when hearing my response). We began sharing photos of our kids and all of a sudden, we weren’t strangers anymore.

We completed preparing the final recipe just as it acquired dark outdoors. Nurulhuda positioned all the food on a big tray on the rug in the residing area. Suad invited her kids, dad and mom, all her sisters and even the driver of our automobile to join. And with 1 spoon every, we all shared from the same plates. It is a very intimate way of consuming, sitting on the floor, dipping our spoons into the exact same bowls of soup. They also ended the meal with a classic Arabic saying: “Now that we have shared bread and salt, we are like relatives”.


(5/five) “My story is the story of each Syrian”

The Syria conflict is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since Globe War II. There are presently over two,7 million Syrian refugees residing in Turkey. Only about ten% are residing in refugee camps and have guaranteed accessibility to food, shelter and basic wants. The rest are residing off-camps – in small apartments, basements, garages and even caves.


Lebaniyye – Syrian Yogurt Soup
Serves 4 

I was particularly intrigued by Suad’s Yogurt Soup as I had never ever tried anything at all related just before. Since I received back, I have now been cooking it a couple of occasions. Warm yogurt may well sound awkward but I discovered its tanginess genuinely tasty when combined with the mint and rice. Suad served it far more as a starter (traditionally I think it is served with meatballs) but I have taken the liberty to add a bit far more topping to make it even much more nourishing and flavourful. Suad also cooked the rice and yogurt collectively from the start but I found that if you do not keep focused and stir continuously, there is a chance that the yogurt will curdle. So I rather cook the rice till it’s practically carried out ahead of slowly stirring in the yogurt mixture. Make certain to check the cooking time for the rice. Our rice cooks in 30-35 minutes, but some are pre-steamed which would half the cooking time for the soup.

Yogurt Soup
one cup / 200 g wholegrain rice or brown rice
5 cups / one,25 liter vegetable stock (or water)
one garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
4 cups / 1 liter total body fat yogurt (we use Turkish yogurt)
one egg
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dried mint
one tsp salt
black pepper
Garlic &amp Chili Oil
1/four cup olive oil
two garlic cloves
2 tsp chili flakes 
To serve
2 cups /  500 ml cooked puy lentils (or chickpeas)
1 large handful fresh spinach
1 large handful fresh mint
1 large handful fresh parsley
Rinse the rice and include it to a big, thick-bottomed sauce pan along with vegetable stock and garlic. Bring to a boil and then flip the heat down somewhat until finally it simmers. Meanwhile, include yogurt and egg to a mixing bowl and whisk quickly right up until mixed and smooth. Right after the rice has cooked for about twenty minutes, include the cornstarch to the yogurt and then use a soup spoon to ladle some of the warm stock into the yogurt mixture whilst making use of your other hand to stir (this is to gradually heat the yogurt and avert it from curdle when mixed with the rest of the stock and rice). Then pour the yogurt mixture slowly back into the big saucepan with rice and stock even though stirring. Include mint, salt and black pepper. Maintain the heat on minimal/medium, so it just barely simmers and keep stirring gradually but frequently. When the rice is cooked by means of and the soup has thickened slightly, it is ready. Taste and adjust the flavours to your liking (I find that it demands very a bit of salt to balance the tanginess). Eliminate from the heat and put together the Garlic &amp Chili Oil.
Heat oil in a little sauce pan on low/medium heat. When warm, include garlic and chili flakes, let sauté for about 45 seconds and then get rid of from the heat. Let steep even though you ladle the soup into bowls and chop the spinach and herbs.
Top the soup with a generous scoop of lentils, chopped fresh spinach, mint, parsley and a drizzle of the Garlic &amp Chili Oil.

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