Tunisian tomatoe soup

tunezyjska zupa pomidorowa
Tunisian tomatoe soup

Recently I signed up for a culinary workshops with Tunisian traditional dishes. We were preparing a salad, tomato soup and a real couscous. Did you know that you should be steaming the couscous for about an hour, not just pour water over it for 5 minutes? It gives you so much more flavour, and it’s really delicious!

But today the main focus is on tomato soup. It’s completely different than polish or Italian soup, cause it’s main ingredient is pearl barley and tomato concentrate. Weird, huh? Maybe, but this thick, a bit spicy and belly-fillingsoup is a perfect idea for lunch prepared in 30 minutes.


  • 2 tbl spoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbl spoons tomato concentrate
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 laurel leave
  • 1 glass of pearl barley
  • 1-1,2 l water
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • Mix of the spices
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
    • 2 seeds of cardamom
    • 1 clove
    • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds

Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add chopped onion and tomato concentrate. Fry it for about 2-3 minutes in a medium heat – the goal of it is to extract the deep flavour from the concentrate paste.

Add minced garlic and fry 2 more minutes.

In a meantime fry on a dry frypan coriander, clove, cardamom and humin seeds, until fragrant – be careful not to burn them. Put them into a mortar and mash

Next, add spices and water to the pot with tomato paste (be careful with chilli – add half of it – it’s better to add more later, than to overspice it). Stir it carefully and add barley. Stir once more.

Put a lid on a pot and on a low heat cook until barley is ready (about 20 min). Add more salt, pepper, chilli if you need.

If the soup is too thick for you can add more water, but the Tunisian version should be thick.

Bon appetite! 🙂

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