Agrio (sour hamout soup)

This Lebanese lemon and potato soup, often prepared for Shabbat, symbolizes comfort in its entirety.
Eitan Bernath's agrio (sour hamout soup) (Photo: Ana Lorenzana)

Editor’s note: The following recipe was featured in “Eitan Explores: Mexico City” with Eitan Bernath.

Its flavor is bittersweet because it has eggplant and tamarind concentrate. This dish symbolizes comfort in its entirety and is most often cooked on Fridays for Shabbat, the day when the big family meets. Agrio is a dish that withstands reheating very well; in fact, it is a tradition to cook it a day in advance.

Each Lebanese household has its own version and variation of this type of soup, known as hamout (sour) because it is very lemony. Growing up, I tried agrio at friends’ and family members’ homes, but this version is undoubtedly my favorite because it is very representative of my mother-in-law’s cooking.

Chefs Eitan Bernath and Estrella Jafif prepare hamout on “Eitan Explores: Mexico City.”

Grandmothers and mothers prepare it this way to accommodate a large number of people. It is usually served with rice and noodles.

Agrio (sour hamout soup)

Prep1 hour 17 minutes
Yield6 people


  • 3 pieces of potato divided into medium cubes
  • 4 celery branches chopped in half moons
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 5 cups of water
  • 8-10 small limes, the juice 
  • 1⁄2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp vegetable consomme (powder)
  • 15 pieces of small rice kibbe (known as kibbe hamda)
  • Salt, to taste


  • In a large pot, sauté the potato, celery, and carrot. While it’s cooking, in a big bowl, mix the lime juice, garlic, herbs, and consomme. Add 4-5 cups of water and season with salt to taste.
  • Add this mixture to the pot with vegetables and let it simmer for a couple of hours, covered so it does not reduce. (If you do this a day in advance, once you reheat it, the flavors will be deeper.)
  • Half an hour before serving, add the kibbes and let simmer.
  • Serve with white rice with vermicelli noodles, which we call arroz con fideo.

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