Celebrating SUKKOT 5780

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By: Adina Yaakov

The very first time I tasted my husband’s Savta's soup, I was a newly engaged bride and Savta had just come all the way from Israel for our wedding. Within a few hours of landing, she had already whipped up a batch of Iraqi kubba soup and I was enchanted with the dumpling-like meatballs. They say a wife should cook like his mother and grandmother, and I inevitably wanted to try. So, the very next time Savta returned to the United States, I asked her to teach me. Savta told me which ingredients to buy, and the very next day she came to my apartment to show me firsthand. Making kubba was a tedious process which included making a semolina dough from scratch and stuffing it with spiced ground beef inside. I watched her intently as I wrote down each step and measurement as she went along. She stocked my freezer with extra kubba balls to make at a later date. But as the days passed by, my stash of kubba balls began to dwindle and Safta had already returned to her home in Israel. I came up with a simplified version of Safta’s kubba soup. Instead of stuffing the dough with meat, beef is rolled into meatballs, and egg noodles made of semolina replace the dough that enveloped the meatballs. It has all the same components and flavor, but minus the time consuming labor. And best of all, my husband says it tastes just like Savta’s!

Serves 10


2 lbs. ground beef

6 large beets (raw)

12 oz. egg noodles

1 tbsp. turmeric

1 large onion

1 bunch fresh parsley or cilantro

3 tbsp. salt


  1. Peel and wash beets. Dice into small cubes and place in a large stockpot with 10 cups water and 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer on a medium flame for 40 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, place washed parsley or cilantro until coarsely chopped and remove and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. In the same processor, add onion and process until finely chopped but not liquidy. Squeeze out any liquid and add to the large bowl containing the chopped parsley or cilantro.
  4. Add beef, remaining salt, and turmeric to the bowl and mix well. Form into small balls.
  5. Carefully add meatballs to simmering pot and let cook another 20 minutes.
  6. Add egg noodles and cook another 10 minutes. Serve warm.