Ardeal-Style Red Orach Soup

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Recipe & photo by Romanian Food for Foreigners


Servings: 2-3

Time: 30 minutes


6-7 bunches of red orach (about 150g once trimmed of stems)
200g of smoked pork on the bone (or about 100g of smoky bacon)
4 spring onions
4 green garlic stems (or 2-3 cloves of regular garlic)
100ml of fresh milk
100ml of sour milk (or milk soured with lemon)
1 tablespoon of flour
Fresh parsley
Fresh dill
Salt to taste


1. If you don’t have any sour milk (called lapte batut in Romania) then you can just sour some regular milk by squeezing some lemon into it. To make this a ciorba it needs to have a sour component. If you are souring fresh milk, do this first to give it time to curdle a little.

2. Pour about 800ml of water into a pot and put on high heat. If you are using smoked meat on the bone, put this in the water, bring it to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes until the water takes on a little smokiness and the meat is tender enough to cut easily. Remove the meat when it’s done, cut it off the bone, cut it into small chunks, and put it back in the water. If you’re using bacon or smoked ham, cut it into chunks first and only boil it for about 5 minutes.

3. While the meat is boiling, pick the orach leaves off the stems and wash the mud off them. Then trim and cut the onion and garlic into small rounds and chop the dill and parsley reasonably finely.

4. Blend the tablespoon of flour with the fresh milk (not the soured one) and add the chopped onions, garlic, dill, and parsley, and put to one side.

5. Once the meat is cook, trimmed off the bone, and returned to the water, add the orach leaves and simmer for about 10 minutes.

6. After the 10 minutes is up, add the fresh milk containing the greenery and continue to cook on a low simmer for a minute or two.

7. Add the soured milk and mix and then season with salt to taste.

8. Serve hot.

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