Lentils with pasta, the Syrian way “Horaa osbao” حراق اصبعه ” رقاقه و عدس”

We start school today, this morning I drove my daughter to her first day in third grade. As much as I long for the order and discipline that school brings, there is always a part of me that is sad waving good bye to her heading to her class with that big smile and excitement she can hardly contain. A part that feels that time is slipping through my fingers, that she is growing way too fast. A part that worries that soon enough a new back pack, teacher and class won’t be her biggest worries nor will something hiding under the bed be her biggest fear. Soon enough a toy or a freshly baked cookie won’t be enough to make a bad day better. I promised myself that I won’t blink but time is still slipping through my finger..

Today I am sharing one of my daughter’s favorite recipes. Horaa osbaao or rokak o adas is a traditional Syrian recipe made of lentils and pasta. What makes it special is the combination of spices, pasta made from scratch and the crunchy fried bread topping . This dish is usually served as an appetizer in family gatherings  but I personally serve it as a main dish. Traditionally, a part of the pasta is cooked with the lentils while another part is  cut into small circles, fried and used as a topping. Nowadays, pita bread is used as a topping instead to save time and fettuccine pasta is used instead of making dough from scratch. The recipe I am sharing today is my mum’s and it remains my go to recipe even after trying so many others

Horaa osbaao “Rkak o adas”

2 cups lentils

8-10 cups water

1 teaspoon all spice

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 teaspoon sumac

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried coriander

1 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons salt

4 cloves garlic chopped

1 cup parsley chopped

1/2 cup Olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

For the dough

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For garnish

2 pita bread loaves cut into squares

Chopped parsley


Prepare the dough

Add the salt and  baking powder to the flour, whisk to combine

Add the water slowly and knead till you get a firm dough

Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 parts .

Roll out one part of the dough till it is 2-3 mm in thickness (you can do this in a pasta machine if you have one)

Cut the dough into strips 1 cm wide and 2-3 cm long.

You can also generously sprinkle  flour on the dough and then roll it then cut it into 1 cm thick strips.

unroll the dough strips, you will get something that looks like fettuccine. You can use it as such or cut it into smaller pieces.

Just make sure that you use a lot of flour to prevent the dough from sticking

Cook the lentils

Place the lentils in a bowl and submerge them in water and leave them soaking in water for 2 hours(if you are short on time you can skip this step but you will have to cook the lentils for a longer time)

drain the lentils, discard the water

place the lentils in a pot and add the water, bring to a boil over medium heat then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are done. (you can tell by tasting a couple)

Add the all spice, dried mint, sumac, cumin, dried coriander,salt and cardamom.

Fry the bread in the olive oil until it is golden brown, reserve the oil.

Using the same oil, saute the garlic nd parsley for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

At this point you can either drain the garlic and parsley and add the oil to the lentils or you can add the oil with the garlic and parsley for a stronger garlic taste

Add the dough strips to the lentils and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and ladle into your serving dish

Allow the lentils to cool

Garnish with bread, sumac, parsley and lemon