The healing Moroccan Tadeffi soup

Tadeffi or Dadeffi is a typical Moroccan soup made during cold days especially for people suffering from cold, asthma, problems with digestion, migraine, PMS etc..It is also highly recommended for women who just gave birth as it's invigorating.

Tadeffi is a family recipe shared between family members in Fes, Meknes and The Mountain region near these two cities. It's a sort of mother-to-daughter thing..

"La Boîte à merveilles" is a  quite famous autobiographical novel written in 1954 by the Moroccan author Ahmed Sefrioui. Chapter IX, he refers to Tadeffi as a mean to make Sidi Mohammed (the hairdresser in the story) feel better.. It's a nice story by the way. It's been taught at schools back home.


Tadeffi soup is made with humble ingredients. However, pennyroyal remains its key ingredient. This plant is also used in Moroccan tea and I love it. It's so refreshing as it's somewhere between mint, spearmint and peppermint but on a milder note.

In Morocco, pennyroyal is referred to as "Fleeyou" or "menthe pouliot" or "menthe sauvage"
When my baby boy is sneezy, I give him a hot milk with infused pennyroyal and he does sleep like a baby for really, same goes for his father whenever he gets a mild cough. These are traditional remedies I still stick to since they're all natural and have proven their efficiency.

Left: fresh pennyroyal. Right: drying it in the shade

I'm planning to grow fresh pennyroyal here in London. But today's soup needs the dried version which I didn't forget to bring from Morocco this time. 1/2 kg makes a lot of dried pennyroyal so we're using it regularly, at least with the Moroccan tea.

A properly dried pennyroyal which has kept a bit of its
 green colour as well as its refreshing smell
Back to today's soup. Tadeffi is made of semolina (fine wheat semolina or barley grits) or just plain flour then some good things: a lot of garlic, ground pepper, pennyroyal. Some additions such as saffron, ginger, thyme and oregano are perfectly fine and depend on the region. The soup is then served with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.



Ingredients
Serves 6
Prep: 5 min- Cooking: About 30-40 min


  • 50g of semolina (I used fine semolina, it gives a better texture)
  • 1.6 to 2 l water (adjust according to absorption and to your preference)
  • 4 cloves to a head of garlic (whole and unpeeled)
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 to 3 tbsps of dried pennyroyal, toasted in a pan for 1 minute and ground to powder

Optional

  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme or and oregano
  • A good pinch of saffron threads

Serve with

  • Olive oil

Grind toasted dried pennyroyal into a powder before using it in the soup
Preparation

In a medium-size pot, combine all ingredients (except flour or semolina), cover and bring to boil then count about 20 to 25 minutes, check if the garlic has gone tender. Squeeze the cloves out and discard their peeling. Try to mash them with the spatula. It's ok (advisable) if you keep the garlic bits obvious.

Simmering the mix before adding the semolina
In a small bowl, stir the semolina with a few spoon of water to avoid lumps in case you add it straight away to the boiling water.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the semolina mixture. I find using a manual whisk quite helpful to integrate the semolina mix without having to face that ugly curdling/lumpy issue.

Bring back the pot over medium low heat and keep stirring until the semolina seems cooked (about 10 minutes).

It's good to keep some bits of garlic

The thickness of Tadeffi soup is a matter of preference but it should not be too runny nor too heavy.

Bear in mind that Tadeffi will cool down and the semolina will keep on absorbing more liquid. So it will ultimately thicken. Sometimes, I just wait for this to happen and warm it again to make sure I 
have the consistency that suits me.




Serve Tadeffi hot in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and as we say in Morocco: "Beshshifa" (May this heal you).






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