For David Suissa’s mother, the last day of Pesach is the day she serves solda, an old-school Moroccan dish that transforms leftover matzah into comfort food.
By the eighth day of Passover, most of us have grown weary of matzah. It is truly the unleavened bread of affliction (and indigestion). But for David Suissa’s mother, the last day of Pesach is the day she serves solda, an old-school Moroccan dish that transforms leftover matzah into comfort food.
David’s eyes lit up when he described his “meme’s” solda to Rachel and I at a Pre-Passover class with the Sephardic Educational Center’s Rabbi Daniel Bouskila.
Rachel remembered the dish from her childhood but her family called it sorda. Call it solda or sorda, the idea is basically broken up pieces of matzah soaked in a wonderful saffron-infused, oily chicken broth.
We reached out to David’s sister Sandra Suissa Moghrabi in Montreal and this is what she wrote to us:
“Besides the unlimited consumption of matzah and Nutella, to which my kids are privy during the eight days of Passover, there is only one other food that they look forward to the most and that is, solda.
Solda originated in Casablanca, where my parents were raised. It is a side dish made from bite-size pieces of matzah, and cooked as you would any egg noodle, in a rich chicken broth. It was very festive and always served alongside lamb or some other special main course on the last Yom Tov lunch, the meal before the Mimouna. My mother would sometimes add some lamb broth, a piece of lamb or a lamb bone for extra flavor.
On the day after the Mimouna, it was a custom for families to take all of their leftover Passover food and have a communal picnic on the beach.
Essentially, Solda was the first step in using up some Passover ingredients and getting rid of leftover matza. Well, luckily my mom is not one to waste food. In fact, it’s her strong need to use any and every ingredient that makes her such a great cook. So mastering Solda was a must, and boy did she master it. And for that my kids are most thankful!”
My mother used to prepare sorda for our family in Casablanca. She used the same chicken broth recipe that her mother and grandmother used. My father’s mother also made it. He is a big fan and still reminisces about it every Pesach. To his dismay, we don’t eat it anymore because nobody wants to eat more matzah than we have to!
When I reached out to my cousin Mercedes Castiel, she told me that they call it sorda, which means deaf because the soaked matzah no longer makes a crunch sound. Her mother didn’t use chicken broth, but soaked the matzah in water, drained the water, added sugar or honey and served it hot or cold. She still makes it for her family during Passover, along with the Ashkenazi comfort food matzah brei.
She added that she regrets not including the recipe in her cookbook “I Never Thought I’d Taste This Again,” a compilation of her late mother’s recipes.
For many years, I have admired the website called Recetas Judias, run by Raquel Moryoussef de Fhima. She has an extensive and comprehensive collection of Sephardic recipes. but they are all in Spanish with metric measurements, which don’t translate so precisely in the American kitchen.
When I was searching the internet for solda/sorda recipes, hers was the only one that came up, so I reached out to her. I discovered that her family is also from the port city of Larache in Morocco. Her father was my mother’s second cousin and her husband is related to my uncle Menasse Fhima. She grew up in Panama and currently resides in Madrid. She has a show on Israeli radio every Friday Radiosefarad.com. Now we are friends and are looking forward to cooking together in Madrid.
This old chicken soup recipe helped me find a long-lost relative and make a new friend.
SOLDA/SORDA MAKES FOR A WONDERFULLY FAMILIAR COMFORT FOOD. A BRILLIANT WAY OF REPURPOSING ALL THAT LEFTOVER MATZAH INTO A SCRUMPTIOUS MEAL.
[/speaker-mute]Solda/Sorda makes for a wonderfully familiar comfort food. A brilliant way of repurposing all that leftover matzah into a scrumptious meal.
6 cups chicken broth
2 big pinches of saffron
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups matzah, broken into silver dollar size pieces
- In a large pot, bring broth to a boil over medium heat, then lower heat.
- Add saffron, olive oil, salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove pot from the heat and add matzah.
- Allow the liquid to be absorbed, give a gentle stir and serve immediately.
- Serve 6-8
Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. The Sephardic Spice Girls project has grown from their collaboration on events for the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC Food.