Mashawa Soup


So the weather is starting to cool off (for some of us anyway). This is a perfect time to post a recipe for my favorite soup ever. During deep winter weekend afternoons, I cook up a pot of this, and we use it to stay warm after shoveling through a foot of snow out front.

I first tasted it about 2005, when I made my first pilgrimage to Madison, Wisconsin to begin SERIOUSLY researching my dad’s genealogy at the State Historical Society. I tried a lot of restaurants that trip, but Kabul was my absolute favorite, and it remains that way. I have fond memories of researching all day in the stacks or at a microfilm reader then heading to Kabul to read through all my research while enjoying this soup. Cook up a pot this winter and stay cozy.


1 c dry light kidney beans
1 c dry garbanzo beans
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb chopped lamb, fat removed
1 lb chopped chicken
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs dried dill
3/4 Tbs cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 Tbs dried cilantro
1 c chicken stock
1/2 c dried yellow split peas
1/2 c dried green split peas

Yogurt Sauce:
8 oz yogurt
2 crushed cloves garlic
1 tsp ground dried mint (or fresh dill)

1. Soak the beans, garbanzo beans, and split peas in separate bowls overnight.

2. In a large kettle, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Add the kidney beans and garbanzo beans and boil them, uncovered, 1 to 1½ hours or until beans are tender. Remove them from heat and drain. Do not rinse. Set beans aside.

3. In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook it until it’s translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the lamb and chicken and sauté it, turning, until it is evenly browned.

4. To the lamb/chicken mixture, add the tomatoes, the spices, the  stock and split peas. Add water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer it uncovered over low heat 2 hours.

5. Combine the meat mixture with the reserved beans, and heat them through if needed. Pour the soup into individual bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon of the yogurt sauce.



  1. Cyndy
    December 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    This is my favorite soup ever too! I ate at Kabul a couple times on visits to Madison. The second time I asked if there was any way to get the recipe. This was years before the internet, but they had a copy of a newspaper review with the recipe in it, hanging on a wall, so I hand copied it onto a scrap piece of paper and have been making it ever since.

    • sepiastories
      December 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Isn’t it amazing? It’s -27 C here today. I’m thinking about a bowl right now! 🙂