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Rice soup with cornelian cherries- Zogalli duyu shorbasi

Zogalli duyu shorbasi - Rice soup with cornelian cherries
Cornelian cherries, or cornels, are widespread across the Caucasus and southern Russia. They add a fruity tang to this simple soup.

Rice soup with Cornelian cherries (zoğallı düyü şorbası) can be made with meat or vegetable stock. Chickpeas can be added to make a more filling soup.

Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 40 min
Serves: 5-6


  • 100 g/4 oz short-grain rice
  • 75 g/3 oz of chickpeas (optional)
  • 75 g/3 oz clarified butter
  • 75 g/3 oz onion
  • 50 g/2 oz stoned Cornelian cherries
  • a bunch of coriander or dill (or 4 g of dried mint)
  • beef or vegetable stock
  • salt & pepper


  • If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in cold water. Rinse. Put in a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Don’t overcook as they will cook further in the soup.
  • If making a traditional stock as the basis for the soup, put 600 g/1lb 8 oz of beef bones in a saucepan and cover with water, 5 cm/2 inches above the level of the bones. Bring slowly to the boil and skim off the foam that forms on the surface. Add 1 tablespoon of allspice. Simmer over a low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Strain the stock. Remove any meat from the bones for use in meatballs or rissoles before discarding. As the stock cools, fat forms on top. This fat is not removed in traditional Azerbaijani cooking, but it can be skimmed off and thrown away for those who don’t like very fatty soups. (Stock can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.)
  • Bring the beef or vegetable stock to the boil and add the rice, Cornelian cherries and chickpeas (if using). Simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice and chickpeas are cooked.
  • While the soup is simmering, chop and fry the onions in the clarified butter.
  • When the rice is cooked, add the onions, salt & pepper to the soup.
  • Meatballs can also be added to the soup
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or dill.

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