Thursday, August 27, 2015

Broken Promises

Every night I come home from work, or if I am working from home, I close the work documents on my computer and I say to myself, "Tonight, tonight I will sit down and write." Then I go to make dinner. Two hours and a meal later, I somehow find myself on YouTube watching another episode of The Great British Bakeoff, having not written a word.

I promised you ice cream. I promised you rice. I promised you onion tart. I am delivering on exactly none of those promises.

I'm going to make it up to you with soup, glorious soup.

Louisa Shafia's Saffron Corn Soup is one of the best soups I have ever made. Certainly it is the best corn soup I have ever made. It was amazingly delicious served hot and equally as delicious eaten cold. Judging from the title alone, I first thought that this soup would be a delicate thing, but then I looked at the ingredients list and I saw turmeric and dried limes and lemon. I thought they were bold flavors to go with saffron and yet somehow it worked. The turmeric lends warmth, the corn a rich creaminess and sweetness and the lime gives the soup a kick of brightness.  Then comes the saffron, weaving it's way through the soup in a floral undertone.

If you're in America and you can get late summer corn, now's the time to make this soup. If you're in Israel, well, you'll just have to make due with the starchy, sort of bland vegetable that passes for late summer corn around here. Sorry. The soup will still be good though, I promise.

Saffron Corn Soup

Lightly adapted from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

A note on ingredients: In Jerusalem, dried limes can be found in most of the spice stores that line the alleyways of the Machneh Yehuda Market. I imagine that they can be found in any good spice store throughout Israel. I know less about finding dried limes in America. If anyone has good leads, please mention them in the comments.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
6 large ears of corn, shucked
3 dried Persian limes, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then pierced with a knife or fork
6 cups chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon saffron
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a stockpot. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown a bit, about ten minutes. Add the turmeric and the corn, and then the dried limes along with their soaking water. Pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the corn is tender.

2. Remove the pot from the heat. Squeeze the limes against the side of the pot to extract their flavor and then remove them. Let the soup cool a bit. Blend half the soup in a blender or using a hand blender. Add the saffron, salt and pepper. Add the lemon or lime juice, to taste. Serve hot or cold.


  1. So לימון פרסי is actually a lime? Interesting. Last time I was at the shuk they had 2 kinds. One black, one lighter. Does the type matter?

    1. Yes, I believe it is. I used the black ones- I don't know what the difference is between the two. Maybe ask your shuk guy-and let me know, I'm really interested in finding out!