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Rafram Chaddad’s Sorba

June 18, 2021
Rafram Chaddad’s Sorba

Israeli artist and amateur chef Rafram Chaddad sneaked into Libya in 2010 to document the abandoned synagogues and cemeteries of the country’s vanished Jewish community. Ten days into his trip, he was captured and accused of spying for Israel; he withstood five grueling months in Libyan prison before being released. This January, Chaddad published a book about his misadventure, Rafram’s Guide to Libyan Jail. His irreverent writing documents the horrors of the Libyan prison system and the torture he endured in captivity.

Featured in: A Taste of Libya—in Prison


  • 1cup dried chickpeas
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 2bay leaves
  • 2pods of cardamom
  • 1stick of cinnamon
  • 2lbs lamb
  • 1cup orzo
  • 1tablespoon dried mint
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  • Step 1

    Soak a cup of dried chickpeas overnight.

  • Step 2

    The next day, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a large soup

    pot. Add 2 whole cardamom pods, 1 stick of cinnamon, and two bay


  • Step 3

    Add about two pounds of lamb, cut into large dice. Brown the


  • Step 4

    When the meat is browned, add two cups pureed canned

    tomatoes, stir.

  • Step 5

    Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer,

    cover, and cook for an hour.

  • Step 6

    Drain the soaked chickpeas and add to the soup. Cook until

    the chickpeas are soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Step 7

    Add about 1 cup of dry orzo pasta. Cook in soup for recommended time.

  • Step 8

    Add a tablespoon of dried mint. Salt to taste.

  • Step 9

    Serve hot and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

  • Step 10

    Note: Measurements are rough.

    When Rafram Chaddad was served this meal in Libyan prison, the cooks used camel meat. He recommends trying it with lamb instead.

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