Two local chefs share treasured soup recipes to warm us from the inside

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jul 14, 2021

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*This article first appeared in our Home Improver’s digital magazine

Well-loved South African Chef Fatima Sydow knows how to warm you up for winter.

Here she shares one of her favourite soup recipes with our Home Improver readers.

Sydow made her first 100-litre pot of curry at the age of 16 and has been sharing her popular recipes ever since.

Even before becoming a TV star, she had built up a worldwide following with her Facebook page Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow.

Split Pea Soup



500g (2½ cups) of dried split peas

4 marrow bones

2 medium onions peeled and grated

4 large carrots peeled and grated 1 cup of chopped soup celery

4 cloves

2 tsp (10ml) of salt 1 tbs

(15ml) of freshly ground black pepper


• In a large pot, add your split peas, marrow bones, cloves and a litre of hot water and cook on medium to high heat until your split peas are soft and mushy. Next add the rest of your ingredients and a litre of hot water.

• Cook on medium heat for 35 to 40 minutes.

• Throughout the cooking process make sure to stir the soup when needed to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.

• Serve on its own or with delicious fresh bread with a spread of butter. More at

Spicy freekeh, lentil and chicken soup

Spicy freekeh, lentil and chicken soup. Picture: Chef Sophia Lindop

This soup is one of Lebanese Chef Sophia Lindop’s favourites. Lindop has written seven cookbooks and is well-loved and known for teaching South Africans how to cook Lebanese cuisine.

Serves 6 to 8



120 ml olive oil

1 medium brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

250g button mushrooms, sliced

75g celery, sliced

3 carrots, peeled and cubed

850g skinless chicken pieces

1½ litres chicken stock sea salt to season

Freshly milled black pepper

1 tbs harissa spice or paste

1 can (400g) lentils, drained and rinsed

1 cup freekeh


• Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onion and mushrooms until slightly browned.

• Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further five minutes.

• Warm the chicken stock.

• Add the chicken pieces to the pot and pour the warm stock over.

• Cook on a medium/low heat for one hour.

• Remove the chicken pieces and remove the flesh from the bones.

• Chop the flesh roughly and place back in the stock.

• Discard the bones.

• Season with salt and pepper and add the harissa.

• Add the lentils and the freekeh and cook for another hour on a low heat.

• Serve.

Note: This soup gets better with time, so feel free to keep refrigerated and enjoy over a few days. It is easy to find freekeh in local specialist shops. I first encountered this product at the souk in Beirut and immediately fell in love with the smoky flavour it adds to any dish. More at

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