You can typically smell the aromas of the lemony-minty hamud that has been cooking for hours on the stove of a Syrian Jewish household on a Friday afternoon.
Hamud is the Syrian version of the Ashkenaz chicken soup. It includes a medley of usually 3 vegetables- carrots, potatoes, and celery, treasured kibbe balls are thrown in midway-and is served over white or brown rice.
The kibbe ball was always an art form and a source of pride for every Syrian Jewish mom, and rightfully so. It represented the love and time spent on each dish prepared for the family, especially on a Friday night. I’m sure that 99 percent of my generation’s Syrian women do remember that their mothers and grandmother used to sit at the dinette table rolling their kibbe homda balls to perfection, nowadays, the time to make the kibbe balls has eroded as the women run out to work, exercise, or run on daily errands. These errands usually incude a trip to the local kosher butcher in Brooklyn, NY who hire ladies to roll and pack the kibbe ball for us. You can even find turkey kibbe balls on the market today.
As a side note, I remember the day that I asked my husband’s grandmother to teach me how to make kibbe balls. She told me where to buy the 2 kinds of meat that we needed for the kibbes. I must have purchased the meat on a Monday, left it in the fridge, and gotten involved with shopping and manicures for 4 or 5 days. On Friday, I proudly brought over the meat. It had turned brown and slightly smelly by then, but as a new bride, I hardly noticed. Well. needless to say, she sent me right home with that meat! I don’t think she ever got around to teaching me how to roll the kibbes, but I did learn that you shouldn’t leave raw meat sitting in the fridge for a week.
I would love to see our families preserve as much of our Syrian Jewish heritage, especially with all of the horrible news reports about the destruction in Aleppo and Damascus which was the home for our Syrian Jewish community for thousands of years. For interesting info about what’s happened to our communities’ rich cultural structures and heritage in Aleppo and Damascus click over to this article by Tablet Magazine written by fellow community member Joseph Dana over in Israel.
Here are some kibbe homda variations sent in by some ladies of our community. Below is the Instagram thread that started this whole post! Please send in your kibbe homda variations to marlene (at) thejewishhostess.com and I will add them in.
By the way- you can always see what The Jewish Hostess Hostess is up to- just follow me on Instagram!
Share and enjoy!
Deal Delights Cookbook Adaptation for Hamud:
1- This is the version the I use from the red Deal Delights cookbook. I’ve added 1/2 cup of tamarind sauce (ourt) and a whole potato that boils with the mixture and gets mashed at the end to add to the thickness of the sauce.
- 1 qt water
- 1 large potato – cubed
- 1 large whole potato
- 2 stalks celery cubed
- 2 carots peeled and diced
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- palmful of crushed mint leaves
Bring vegetables to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Crush garlic with the back of a pyrex cup and mash with kosher salt. Add to vegetables.
Add lemon juice and mint leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of tamarind sauce (I love Mrs Maslaton’s ourt sold at Kosher Corner in Brooklyn).
Cook for about 1 hour covered.
Add kibbe – simmer uncovered about 1/2 hour- 45 minutes.
Mash the whole potato when soft to add to thicker consistency.
2- Kibbe Homda Recipe by Odette Tebele Rishty:
“Probably the toughest recipe ever …to give exact measurements and directions for. All grandmas give it over like this… Then you put the lemon juice and we say how much sito? And they say ‘just put!’. Then you put the salt and we say how much and they say ‘just put!’ haha. The point is to know exactly what you want it to taste like and a cook who is comfortable in their kitchen and is experienced with food will get it.
This is a Halab recipe. (Alleppo syria) My grandma left there and went to Mexico and married at 16 in Mexico. This recipe’s end result is an orange to red looking Hamud. Its salty lemony sauce has sugar added but only a drop enough to enhance .. The sweetness is not tasted —I’ve tasted within my own grandmas daughters a slightly sweeter version and my grandmas was even less sweet – my mom’s Adela (Chayo )Tebele. ah’ was in deed the best! This is how I make it and she loved my Hamud!
I don’t have time to give directions- I think anyone can figure it out if they make Hamud ! All mom’s son in laws and grandchildren loved this Hamud the best! Egyptian son in law included! She’d get visits for leftovers from son in laws and older grandchildren and grandchildren bringing her great grandchildren for another taste even on a Monday for leftovers!
- Lots Celery
- Lots Carrots
- 1 lg onion onion small slithers cook til just clear not more(that is the first thing in the pot with a little oil )
- Water fill till half of pot (med to large pot)
- 1 marrow bone this adds tons of flavor
- 1Can of tomato sauce (small can for med pot , large can for a really big pot)
- Lemon juice (at least two cups maybe more will be needed as you go along)
- 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 peeled potato cut up in small chunks
- Crushed garlic 3-4 cloves ,dry mint leaves crushed kosher salt and oil 1-2 tbsp to make paste and add to Hamood soup as cooking
- Probably will need to add salt a few times.
Taste and add ingredients if needed after a good 15 minute boil. Then add kibbes when ur happy with the taste (so your not meat for the day- If you need to still have coffee & the like )Then allow it to cook for at least 45 min covered slightly ajar .. .Bubbling slightly then lower the flameMy sister variated to this and I honed in on it – and asked her secret -she added a fresh lemon and a fresh lime (either or can be used but i use both including the juicy inside
pieces ) squeezed into the soup — along with the usual store bought lemon juice — it definitely enhances the flavor to be more Middle Eastern as it creates a stronger more delicacy-like robust flavor.
(for a really big Hamud pot I would say not to double the ingredients- a little less than double)
Anyone can email me for questions if anything is unclear or they need help with it. Itsallagift1@aol.com
When I was finally able to make Hamud good everytime it was my proudest moment to be able to carry on the tradition!
My mom’s magic is working– to keep a family coming back for visits– now my married daughter makes sure to come back for Hamood and tries to even take some home after shabbat for my granddaughter who just started eating regular food — she loves it too!!!Happy hamud perfecting! May the tradition-carrying force be with you! “
Odette (Tebele )Rishty
3- Kibbe Homda by Lisa Ades:
Sour Spearmint Sauce/Soup with Meatballs (Hamud) by Lisa Ades
- 5 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut in
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 lb. veal stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1-2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 1 head garlic, clves peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup dried spearmint
- 1/2 cup sugar
Place ground beef in a large bowl. Season with salt, mix well, then
shape into 1″ meatballs. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Place potatoes, celery, veal, lemon juice, garlic, spearmint, and sugar
in a large pot. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low, add meatballs, cover, and simmer, stirring
occasionally, for 1 hour. Using a long-handled spoon, stir soup,
mashing potatoes just enough to slightly thicken soup. Cover and
continue cooking until veal is tender, about 2 hours more.
Adjust seasoning with additional salt, sugar and lemon juice, if
necessary. Ladle into bowls or serve over rice.
4- Jen Ashkenazi- from my grandma’s cookbook:
“Cooking with Grandma” was made by the Children & Grandchildren of Marjorie Ashkenazie A”H. We were all able to pick our favorite recipe from our Grandmother & write a small story from the memories that brought us back to that recipe . This cookbook is my favorite tool in the kitchen because I know my grandmother is watching over me & guiding me in the correct direction .
“Cooking With Grandma” can be purchased online from the below Link ;
5- Kibbe Homda by Sara Ash
- Crushed garlic
- Lemon juice real lemon
- Kosher salt
- Fresh mint
- Chopped celery carrots potatoes
- Jerusalem glatt kibbe balls bought from the kosher butcher on East 8 in Brooklyn, NY.
“Kibbe meat is the best if u make your own …
Fill medium size pot 3/4 full w/ water crushed garlic and salt bring to boil . Add 1 bunch of fresh mint chopped ..bring to boil add lemon juice from bottle count to 12 .
Bring to boil add carrots and celery boil for 10 add kibbe balls and potatoes .
Boil until potatoes get soft .. Consistency will be thicker .. Flame should be low …
My families favorite I never make enough!”