When Houthis attack, make lahoh and Yemeni soup

Known as the Jewish-Yemeni Penicillin, the Yemeni soup is the perfect solution for a cold winter and it goes great with lahoh, an irresistible bubbly pastry you make in a pan
Raheli Krut|
Despite the Houthi threat in the south, one nice thing did come out of them - they reminded us of the wonderful Yemeni food. We have a special place in our family for Yemeni food as my aunt comes from a large Yemeni family and her father, who passed away, used to make the most delicious lahoh in the world. So delicious that he used to bring us frozen lahoh that he made so that we would always have it at home until his final days.
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Even my father, who was born in Lithuania, adores the Yemeni soup, in its meat version, and usually orders it every time he finds it in a restaurant. Seeing him enjoy bone marrow and the lahoh with the fenugreek and soup is like watching the best show in town.
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(Photo: Maya Ben Dahan)

A Lahoh that cannot be resisted

The lahoh is magical. Full of beautiful bubbles that make it one of the most fun pastries out there, absorbs sauces, stews, soups, spreads and more depending on your imagination. I even like to eat it with chocolate spread.
Preparation is simple but it is critical to be precise through the various stages. To make the lahoh, you need to have a nonstick pan, but if you have two you can save time.
Ingredients: 1.7 L tepid water (7 1/3 cups) 20 gr yeast (2 tablespoons) 4 tablespoons white sugar 5 tablespoons semolina (milled durum wheat) 1 kg fine flour 1 tablespoon table salt
1. Put the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl, stir for a bit and let it rest for two minutes.
2. Add the semolina to the water and mix with whisk until there are no more semolina lumps.
3. Add the flour and salt, stir with wooden spoon until flour is immersed. Switch to whisks until there are no flour lumps and the batter is uniform. You can do this in a mixer or blender, but it's important there are no lumps.
4. Cover the bowl of the batter for an hour so it develops bubbles.
5. Using a ladel, pour the batter to a nonstick pan until the surface of the pan is covered. Do it gently so the bubbles are not ruined in the process. The dough should be half a centimeter, but you can make it thicker according to your lahoh preference.
6. Sear on the pan until the top is almost completely dry and is full of holes. In the last minute, when most of the dough on top has dried and is no longer white, cover with a lid for one minute and transfer the lahoh to a plate. Cover the lahoh with a towel.
7. Now you need to cool the pan before putting another ladleful of the batter. You can place the bottom of the pan in a bowl of cold water or turn it over and let cold water from the tap flow over the bottom for a few seconds. The main thing is for the pan to be cold and dry (and here's an idea: instead of cooling the pan, you can work with 2 pans so one is in use while the other one cools off).
8. Repeat the steps and again place a ladleful of the batter, move it a little and sear until you get bubbles. Keep the lahoh in a tightly closed bag, and in any case, as long as they are outside, you must put a towel over them to keep the moisture.

Wonderful Yemeni chicken soup

A few ingredients yield a lovely soup which is the equivalent version of the Ashkenazi chicken soup. Do not give up the cilantro, even if you are not a fan, because it cooks for a long time and almost melts in the soup. And as for the Hawaij spice, if you don't have it at home, you can put 1 1/2 tablespoons of turmeric and 3/4 teaspoon of baharat or cumin (instead of 2 tablespoons of Hawaij).
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Yemeni chicken soup
Yemeni chicken soup
Yemeni chicken soup
(Photo: Efrat Moskovitz)
If you like your soup a bit thick, you can mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 cup of water in a glass until there are no lumps of flour. Pour it into the soup when it is almost ready and mix. Continue cooking for another 10-20 minutes until the soup is ready.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons oil 4 chicken parts, preferably with the skin 2 peeled white onions 3 branches of celery 5-6 peeled potatoes 1 bunch of cilantro leaves 2 tablespoons Hawaij (or substitutes detailed above) 2 tablespoons chicken soup broth powder 1 tablespoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
1. Cut the onions in half, cut the celery into long strips (so it can fit in the pot and you take it out in the end) and cut the potatoes into quarters or halves, depending on their size.
2. Pour the oil in a large pot and fry the chicken, skin side down, with the onions until the chicken gets a delicate golden color.
3. Add the spices and mix gently. Add the rest of the ingredients.
4. Pour 3 liters of water and cook on low heat for an hour and a half. Occasionally clear out the foam that forms on top. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your preference.
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