This recipe is adapted from the one that I learned from Amnun Kimyagarov and his wife Zoya during my trip to Rego Park in late August of 2013 (see previous post from September 15, 2013). You can also find this recipe (called, “Oshi Masozgoshak“) in Amnun’s cookbook: “Classic Central Asian (Bukharian) Jewish Cuisine and Customs.”
The original recipe uses unripe green apricots, but dried yellow or golden plums are substituted here in the U.S. The trick is to add a slight tart flavor to the soup. Dried apricots can be used if you cannot find the dried yellow or golden plums in a Russian, Eastern European, or Asian grocery store, but keep in mind that the flavor should be more tart than sweet. Zoya used imported dried Olucha which are dried yellow plums that resemble giant golden raisins. According to Amnun’s Bukharian/Russian/English dictionary this translated to “Cornelian Cherry” and looked like this (see below):
When I went looking in a Russian grocery in Queens (right after my visit with Amnun and Zoya) I couldn’t find the same dried yellow plums that they had used, so instead I got a box of something that looked similar called Uzbek Apricot Kondak, which on the container were translated as “Small Size Apricots with Pits” (photo below). The Apricot Kondak were much more sweet than the Olucha that Zoya had used but looked pretty in the soup (make sure to warn guests about the big pits!). Perhaps the next time I would try to use a more sour apricot like the California variety. After emailing Amnun about this he told me that the taste of the soup should have a slightly sour flavor, so if you cannot find the dried sour plums you should add a few tablespoons of lemon juice instead.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10 / Makes about 15 cups
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions (1 large)
1¼ pounds veal stew, beef stew, or chicken thighs cut into ¼-inch pieces
12 cups homemade plain veal, beef, or chicken broth or water
Meat bone (can be 2 reserved bones from chicken thighs, or 1 from veal or beef)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 generous grindings of fresh black pepper
¾ pound carrots, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups cubed)
¾ pound white potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups cubed)
1½ cups dried golden or yellow plums, or Persian dried sour plums*
2 cups finely chopped sorrel leaves or loosely packed coriander leaves (stems discarded)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
*If you cannot find these from an Asian, Persian, Central Asian/Russian, or Middle Eastern specialty grocery store then substitute with dried California apricots and several tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice until you have reached desired tartness.
4 squares matzah, broken into 2-inch pieces
Measuring cups and spoons
Large chef’s or chopping knife and cutting board
4- or 6-quart pot or saucepan
1. Pour oil into a large 4- to 6-quart pot or saucepan and warm over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce to a medium-high heat and mix in onions. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until very soft but not browned.
2. Add meat and mix well. Cook meat, stirring often, until it becomes a greyish-brown color, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour in broth (or water), and add bone(s), salt, and pepper and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to a medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
4. Add the whole dried plums or apricots, mix well, and continue to simmer an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
5. Add the carrot and potato pieces, and chopped sorrel (or coriander leaves) and mix well. Cook 10 minutes over medium heat, just until potatoes become soft but not mushy.
6. Slowly add the beaten eggs while stirring until eggs become long strands like egg drop soup, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately into individual soup bowls with about ½ a square matzah broken up into each bowl.