Categories: Main DishesSoups

Recipe Found: Noonoog, Noonook, Nunug!

When Nancy DerSimonian was looking for a recipe for Noonoog, a soup made with meat, chickpeas, mint, lemon and such, I scoured my resources. I came across a recipe called ‘Lamb and Chickpea Soup’ in the cookbook, ”Recipes and Recollections” by St. Leon Armenian Church Women’s Guild. This recipe was submitted by Debra Bedevian Inak. Even though it wasn’t called Noonoog, it seemed to have the required ingredients, so I passed it along to Nancy.

Here is Debra’s recipe – Lamb and Chickpea Soup:
1 ¼ c. dried chick peas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. lamb neck bones
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
5 cups beef broth
2 large plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large lemon, cut into quarters

2 green onions, including tender green parts, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. coarsely chopped parsley
2 large lemons, cut into quarters

1. Sort through chickpeas, discarding impurities or discolored ones. Place in a bowl; add cold water to cover. Soak for 12 hours.
2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and sauté until brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove lamb and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp. of the fat.
3. Add onion, carrot and garlic; sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add coriander and cumin; sauté for 1 minute more. Pour in beef stock to deglaze pot.
4. Return lamb to pot.
5. Drain chick peas; rinse. Add to pot with the tomatoes. Add 4 lemon quarters. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until chick peas are tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours, skimming regularly.
6. Remove lamb and lemons from pot. Cut out and discard bones and excess fat. Cut meat into small, coarse chunks and set aside.
7. Ladle about ½ the chickpeas into a food mill, processor or blender, and puree. Stir the puree and lamb chunks back into the pot.
8. Ladle into warmed bowls.
9. Garnish with green onions and parsley; pass around lemon wedges.

Since I wasn’t sure if Debra’s recipe was ‘Noonoog’, I posted a general request. With their usual gusto, readers eagerly helped answer my plea. (Thanks everyone!)

One recipe I received came from Karin Matevosian, who makes hers without meat; not exactly what Nancy was looking for, but tasty just the same. 

Here is Karin’s version of Noonoog, along with some of her personal tips:

“Noonoog is my favorite soup, my mother taught me how to make this, our Lebanese – Armenian neighbors taught her. I make this soup every time we want comfort food and when it’s cold. The recipe can be adjusted to taste. I will give you the original version, and in the parentheses the way I make it. Since we like it a lot and eat it for couple days I always double the recipe and the spices are usually eyeballed.”

1 can of chickpeas (I use 2)
1/2 bag of shell shaped pasta
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of dried mint
1 tablespoon olive oil or 2 pats of butter
1 carton of beef broth (I use 2 from Trader Joe’s, if I have 1 carton then I add water)
NOTE: vegetable broth or chicken broth can be used in place of beef broth
2-3 cloves of garlic minced (add more according to your taste)

“I also use cumin, sumac and Aleppo pepper or cayenne pepper (all spices are measured in tablespoons, according to taste – except for the cayenne or Aleppo pepper which is measured in teaspoons.)”

First you brown the garlic in a large pan, then add the washed chickpeas and little bit salt not too much because the broth has sodium. Stir the garlic with chickpeas for a couple of minutes, later add the broth. At this time I add the cumin, sumac, hot pepper (my mom doesn’t add this part). When the broth is at the boiling point, add the pasta and let it cook. When the pasta is ready, turn the stove off and add the lemon juice and dried mint and let it sit for 10 minutes and serve. It tastes even better the next day.

Another recipe for Noonoog was sent by Maral Partamian. Her recipe contains meat, as Nancy requested.

Maral’s Noonoogov Chorbah
1 lb. stew meat
Salt, pepper, red pepper
2 cups of water
1/2 small can tomato paste
1/2 small can tomato sauce
2 c small shell pastas
Juice of 3 lemons
4 garlic cloves, mashed with a little salt
2 TB dried mint
1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas

Cook stew meat (pressure cooker is the best way to cook, but can be done in regular pot of course).
After meat is cooked add enough water to pressure cooker so it is about halfway full. Add the rest of the ingredients and put lid of pressure cooker after it comes up to pressure cook 5 minutes.
Adjust seasonings and anoushnehr! 🙂

Maral’s special notes:

“I have to have a recipe for everything I cook, but this is one of the recipes I make by taste, I like it really lemony, and really garlicky and really minty. I don’t use a pressure cooker so I just boil the meat till tender and then add everything except the noodles and the chickpeas, make sure the broth part is yummy. I cook the pasta separately ‘cause I really hate it when the pasta gets all bloated for leftovers! 🙂 So I make a lot of the broth and keep the pasta and chick peas separately and just add as we eat it. It does taste a lot better when the pasta has had a chance to cook in the broth, but like I said the bloated pastas aren’t appealing to me” 🙂

The ingredients I used for Noonoog
My final product

For the record, I made the recipe Karin sent using chicken broth and elbow-shaped pasta since that’s what I had on-hand. It was really delicious!

Well, Nancy, hope this helps. We’d love to hear from you after you decide which recipe you like best, and have had a chance to make it.

And thanks, Karin and Maral for all of your help and participation!

View Comments

  • They used to serve "Noonoog" at my Armenian School for lunch. I haven't had it in ages. Since I am pregnant, I have been craving tomato/lemon fresh foods, and all of a sudden craved noonoog! It was a long shot, but I googled "noonoog" and found this site! I am thrilled and will add this to my rotation of meals! Shnorhagaloutioun!

  • I love to cook and enjoy the delicious recipe. This is my first look at your recipe and really look very delicious. Hope, I will enjoy it at my next weekend and will let you know the feedback.

Recent Posts

Easter Menu Planning? Look no further!

  I don’t know about you, but in our family, we’re all about tradition when…

3 months ago

St. Sarkis Day and 3 celebratory recipes

It’s that time of year again! St. Sarkis Day, the moveable feast day on the…

5 months ago

A Traditional Recipe for Armenian Christmas Eve – Nevik

Way back in 2010 Ara Kassabian shared his family’s recipe for Nevik with The Armenian…

6 months ago

Thanksgiving Recipes Revisited

With Thanksgiving Day just hours away, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite,…

7 months ago

George Mardikian’s Chicken Tchakhokhbelli recipe, dish favored by Georgian princes.

My family and I had the distinct honor of meeting George Mardikian at his restaurant,…

12 months ago

Antonio Tahhan and his recipe for Kbeibat, Middle Eastern dumplings

My first encounter with Antonio (Tony) Tahhan, the Syrian-American food writer, researcher, and storyteller, spans…

12 months ago

This website uses cookies. find out more.