Tomato and Basil Winter Soup – Hassa Dernawi حساء درناوي

Hassa is a thick winter soup, the Libyan hassa is infused with tomato and fresh herbs and thickened with flour. This version is a traditional recipe from Derna in eastern Libya. While there are many variations throughout the country including the Misurati recipe with fenugreek and dried meat (gideed), the Dernawi Hassa is the most famous. It is distinguished by its use of a mixture of fresh herbs including basil, corainder and mint. A piping hot bowl of this hassa, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, is guaranteed to warm you up during cold days.

serve 4- 6
400-500g lamb meat 
2 tomato, finely chopped or (can chopped tomatoes )
1 of each teaspoon, black pepper, turmeric, chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato past
1litre boiling water
salt to taste

To thicken the soup:
3-4 headed tbspoon white flour
1/2 litre cold water

Herbs mix:

3 large garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red chilli
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup fresh mint 

Put the herbs in a food processor and blend to a fine consistency.

                          Cut the meat into small bite-size chunks, put it in a pot.


Spoon the herbs onto the meat, add oil and stir continuously, cook on moderate heat for a few minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add 1 litre  of boiling water,  leave to simmer on low heat  for about one hour.

Add 3-4 tbspoon flour to 1/2 litre cold water, mix well, the mixture most be smooth. You could use a blender.   
Finally, add this mixture to the soup while you are stirring continuously, to thicken the soup. Cook for a further15 minutes, serve with warm wholemeal bread and lemon wedges.