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Vary Amin’anana Lenten Soup Recipe

A Letter from Dan and Elizabeth Turk, serving in Madagascar

Lent 2021

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Vary amin’anana
Lenten Soup Recipe from Madagascar

Vary amin’anana literally means rice with greens and it is a very traditional food that people eat in Madagascar. It is a soupy rice with greens and spices. Rice is the main part of the Malagasy people’s diet. They often say that if they have not eaten rice, they do not feel like they have eaten. During Lent, many of us try to give things up & eat more simply. Vary amin’anana is a good dish for this as it is healthy and can be eaten without meat in it. Most Malagasy people do not eat much meat because they cannot afford it.

The FJKM (Fianangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara), PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, observes Lent, although the church does not celebrate Ash Wednesday. During Lent, FJKM invites its members and congregations to consider and remember Jesus’ sufferings and His love for us. FJKM encourages scripture readings, prayers and fasting as spiritual practices during Lent. Also, during the week before Easter which is known as Herinandro Masina or holy week, most FJKM churches offer worship services every day (mostly evening services) to observe Lent.

Vary amin’anana Lenten Soup

Vary amin’anana – Soupy Rice with Greens
Ingredients (4 servings)
2 tablespoons oil
1⁄2 lb spinach, cut in small pieces
1⁄2 lb turnip green or mustard greens or watercress, cut in small pieces
2 cups water
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1 chicken or beef bouillon cube

In a saucepan, add oil and sauté the spinach and the greens. Add the ground ginger. Stir occasionally until the greens soften.

Add water, rice, chicken bouillon and salt.

Cover and simmer slowly until the rice is soft and when the liquid is down to about a 1/3 of the original volume (cooking time will be longer than the regular cooking time for the rice). Don’t let it get too dry. If it does, add ½ cup of water and let it boil for 5 minutes. The soup is ready. Serve hot!

The recipe was prepared by FJKM Pastor Mamisoa Rakotomalala who is currently pursuing a dual degree (M. Div & M.Th., and D.Ed.Min.) at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia (2018-2022). In Madagascar, people use greens that are not readily available in the USA so the recipe had to be modified.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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