Córdoba and its weirdly wonderful soup, Mazamorra

Finally the weather has improved and just as we’re getting into gear to make our way back to England, the sun has come out.

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It’s been a busy month with house repairs but also time to catch up with friends and loved ones and a return to a very favourite city, Córdoba. My bestie came to visit and we took her there for a visit as she had never been. We saw the beautiful Mezquita, now a Catholic cathedral but packed full of Moorish history.

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We also went back to Medina Azahara, declared this week a UNESCO world heritage site. Hopefully that will mean an investment of money to allow more of this amazing first century Arab Muslim city to be excavated.

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Of course, we made sure we ate and drank well and we all tried, for the first time, a chilled Cordoban soup called Mazamorra. Based on very simple ingredients, like many of the gazpachos of Spain, but giving an amazing finished result which we all loved. It’s an incredibly thick and filling dish, we shared one portion in the restaurant and when I made it at home recently, we decided that it would be perfect served in shot glasses as part of a mixed tapas selection.

You don’t need to be too precise about the weight of ingredients, just try to keep roughly to the proportions. But do give it a try, you might be as weirdly and wonderfully surprised by it as we were!

Ingredients (this makes one large bowl of soup which would serve about 8 shot glasses or 4 tiny bowls)

  • Approx 100g stale bread (use the best quality you have as this will greatly influence the flavour of the finished soup e.g. sourdough or ciabatta) soaked in a little water until soft
  • About 35g of blanched almonds
  • A small clove of garlic, peeled
  • Half a teaspoon of fine salt
  • One teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • About 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Cold water
  • To garnish – chopped hard boiled egg, some chopped black olives (I didn’t have any) and a drizzle of olive oil

Put the soaked bread, the almonds, garlic, salt and white wine vinegar into a blender (I used a jug and a stick blender) and blend until you have a paste. I added a few drops of water to help things along. Now gradually add the olive oil and keep blending and adding until you have a smooth, thick paste. It should look rather like hummus. Now add a tablespoon of water at a time and keep blending. You want to end up with a mixture rather like custard. Taste and add a little more salt if you need it then chill until ready to serve.

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A useful gift from a generous neighbour

The restaurant we tasted this in was rather fancy and the soup was drizzled with a mango purée, which was delicious.  Traditionally, chopped hard boiled egg and chopped black olives are used. A drizzle of olive oil really works well and serve with crunchy breadsticks for dipping.

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If you’d prefer a more familiar gazpacho, take a look at my recipe, or perhaps you’d enjoy my very favourite, Salmorejo,  which is a chilled tomato and bread soup, also from Córdoba. All delicious, each very different from the other. Buen Provecho!

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31 thoughts on “Córdoba and its weirdly wonderful soup, Mazamorra

  1. I’ve heard of this soup, but never seen a recipe for it. It sounds and looks so interesting! Lovely photos of the Mezquita interior and Medina Azahara…how wonderful that its been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Safe travels back to England!

  2. I do like salmorejo and this soup looks interesting but I won’t be making it Tanya. I’ll have to wait for a return visit to Cordoba. The heritage site looks interesting xx

  3. I will be waiting for summer before I try this, Tanya. From the heatwave of London to the snow and frosts of NZ it’s too big an ask for me to try anything that is not hot or spicy.

  4. Is that the same as ajoblanco?
    I think you have plenty of time to return for English sunshine – they say it’s here for several weeks. Though to be honest, I’d rather be up a mountain 😉

    1. It uses pretty much the same ingredients (although the cheap and cheerful everyday version uses broad bean flour instead of almonds). It has less olive oil, more vinegar and a lot more water. Usually served with chopped apple or grapes. And really strange, I love mazamorra but can’t stand ajo blanco!! I did say it was a bit weird and wonderful 😊

      1. Never looked for it in England, so not sure where you’d get it. Can always bring a packet back for you. Let me know, not heading back for about 3 weeks!

      2. Thanks! I think they sell it in whole food shops – apparently it’s gluten free and therefore enjoying a new popularity.

  5. Looks like a beautiful part of the world to visit Tanya… such rich history to take in. I’m afraid I’ll have to bookmark this one for now as well, until we make our way back in to the warmer months later this year. It really does look wonderful though!

  6. How wonderful to share such fabulousness with your bestie.
    Think I’d love this soup – although I’d be a piggy and want a big bowl full. 😀
    Love and hugs across the oceans to you.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

  7. This reminds me of the Russian soup Okroshka, which is also a bread soup. I always find it fascinating how different cultures have similar traditions, not just in food.
    Have a safe trip to England. The weather here is divine…almost too hot!

  8. I can’t usually see the point of cold soups but with the UK weather being uncharacteristically warm at present I might give this a try.
    I loved my visit to Cordoba some years ago and would love to go back. Thanks for the photos 😃.

  9. Hi Chica, So glad to “see” you again!
    What an interesting cold soup. I love their addition of mango puree on top. Minus the egg, this sounds like something I could try!

  10. I loved Córdoba and can’t wait to taste your version of this soup – knew you’d work out the recipe!

  11. Such a lovely area you described. I had to click on to the Mezquita link as your image intrigued me. Such a rich history the Mosque/Cathedral has.
    Interesting soup! I would love to try, I but unfortunately we have a nut free home (allergies). Do you think pumpkin seed would work for this soup?

  12. Your bestie must have had a great time with the two of you as a tour guide. Love the sound of the soup…I had a cold almond soup years ago but have no idea how it was prepared. Yours sounds good for our hot Florida weather.

  13. I’ve sometimes heard of this dish referred to as “white gazpacho”. Not sure how authentic that name is, but whatever you want to call it, I’d dying to try it. Sounds fantastic and really refreshing for these hot summer months.

    1. You’re right about a white gazpacho Frank, it’s called ajo blanco which means white garlic. It’s made with the same ingredients but in different proportions. More often the almonds are substituted with broad bean flour. Bizarrely it tastes very different, and it’s served with cold green grapes or chopped apple or melon. Just as weird, bearing in mind the ingredients are the same, I can’t stand it!! Mind you, I really should share the recipe though 😊

  14. What beautiful photos. This sounds like an original peasant recipe to me. Reminds me, sort of, of the flour soup my mother made growing up. I’m sure she learned it during the war, or just from her older relatives during bleak times.

    1. Thank you Mimi. Yes, a lot of the recipes from Andalucia are what we would call “cucina povera” in Italy, or very simple ingredients used to make filling and hearty dishes because there wasn’t a great abundance of choice. Necessity is the Mother of Invention, as the old saying goes!

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