armenian chick pea tomato pasta soup

This is another Armenian soup often made by Isgouhi in the same class as the malanga one, but without a hard to find key ingredient. I got her to dictate this recipe to me 3 different times over the course of a few years, but each version had some variations. The following is a compromise. There is a good reason why this is frequently served. Healthy and tasty. Sorry about the meat.


1 c dried chick peas (= 1/2 lb dried) or 1 can wet peas
1 - 1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder or stew meat (even beef)
2 bay leaves
2 t salt
water to cover, plus some
1 lb baby shells (2 c?) precooked al dente
2 T tomato paste (heaping = 3oz)
1 lemon, juice from
water to cover
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t  Middle Eastern red pepper powder
1/2 t salt
1 - 4 T butter
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T dried mint


  1. Soak the dried chick peas overnight in water. When ready to make the soup, drain.
  2. Bring the meat to a boil in an uncovered pressure cooker with 1 t salt and 1 bay leaf, boil 5 min, and then drain and rinse to eliminate the scum which forms. Discard first bay leaf.
  3. Add the chick peas, 1 t salt, and the second bay leaf to the meat in the pressure cooker and just cover with water, plus a little bit. Bring to full steam and cook 15 minutes covered.
  4. Mix the tomato paste with a little water in a saucepan and stir in the lemon juice and spices and then pour into the pressure cooker.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil uncovered and then add the pasta. Boil 5 minutes uncovered.
  6. Meanwhile saute the butter, garlic, and mint separately until the garlic and butter is a light golden brown color.
  7. Add to soup and boil 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve.


  1. This still needs some feedback from the chef. [It took some time...see the 2011 update.]
  2. Illustrations available.
armcpps.htm: 16-feb-2011 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]