What is Shorba?

shorbaShorba, alternatively known as “chorba”, “sorpa”, “shurpa”, and many other names, is a type of soup widely enjoyed throughout the Middle East, as well as parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is similar in many ways to minestrone, consisting of an assortment of meats, vegetables, and seasonings. Diners will often eat it as a dish by itself, or with a side of bread for dipping.

It is believed that this soup traces its origins back to ancient Persia, who named it in reference to the salted water in which they boiled the soup’s meat. A highly versatile dish, as well as a very easy dish for travelers to prepare on the road, it’s little wonder why it managed to spread as far as it did. It has taken many forms with many ingredients to suit a wide range of regional crops and tastes, including popular favorites like lamb, beef, pork, chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and turnips. The spices used in the shorba commonly include garlic, onions, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, mint, or saffron.

Shorba first arrived in India along with the cuisine of the Muhgals, and the vegetarian people of India put their own unique stamp on the soup with a variety of new, meat-free versions.

At MokSHA’s Bellevue Indian cuisine restaurant, you can try shorba in the form of our tomato-coconut shorba. This soup is made with tomato broth and coconut milk, seasoned with bay leaves and garlic. It’s a great, vegan-friendly start to any of our meals!