Rishtaya, Syrian Lentil Noodle Soup

Published March 2, 2018

Growing up with my Syrian immigrant grandparents meant enjoying an array of healthy and abundant foods, like Rishtaya. That hearty Lentil Noodle Soup, simmering atop my grandmother’s stove so long ago, brings back so many wonderful memories!

My Sitto Naima was a great cook, like so many of her generation. Every day, we were fortunate enough to enjoy the best of #Aleppo’s cuisine. All of these dishes were remembered by my grandmother, having cooked them alongside her own grandmother in Syria. She prepared and cooked these #Aleppo dishes throughout her life. Our family enjoyed an endless variety of vegetables, fruits and grains, always with her budget-based and seasonal menu in mind. In fact, I do recall that she would only cook what was in season, much like the Chefs of today, buying the ingredients almost daily for her menus.

On Fridays during Lent, she would prepare this humble and delicious soup. She always used brown lentils as her base, with any style or size of noodle that was available in her pantry. She would finish the soup with a sprinkling of mint flakes, either fresh or dried, along with a topping of caramelized onions. This captivating aroma always brought us all to the table, even without being called!

It’s interesting to note that our best food memories, like the aroma of a simmering favorite dish, can bring those loving times back to us. These simple dishes are remembered and now preserved in my cookbooks, in the hopes of keeping that Aleppo tradition and Syrian culture alive for the generations to follow. Do try this soup on a cold night with some warm Pita bread alongside. You don’t need a Syrian grandmother to enjoy the taste of one of Aleppo’s dishes! Discover this recipe on page 64 of Sitto’s Kitchen II Cookbook.