From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
TypeBread soup
CourseMain course
Place of origin Portugal (Al-Andalus)
Associated cuisinePortuguese
Main ingredientsBread, eggs, garlic, cilantro

Açorda is a traditional Portuguese dish composed of cubed or sliced stale bread with garlic, coriander, and poached eggs. It is a type of bread soup, although some variants have a consistency closer to that of a porridge.

The version served in Alentejo, açorda à Alentejana, is a classic of the region's cuisine.


The primitive Arab açorda, tharîd, can be traced as far as the 5th century in the Pre-Islamic Arabia. It is one of the most characteristic dishes of the Arab cuisine and its creation is attributed to Hāshim ibn ‘Abd Manāf. This açorda would most resemble a meat and pumpkin stew, to which breadcrumbs were added.[1]

According to Alan Davidson, tharid was very popular with Mohammed, which caused it to spread wherever Muslims did.[2] With the arrival of Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the 8th century, the açorda, now known as thurûd, also arrived.[3] There are two known books in which thurûd is referenced: FuDâlat al-Khiwân fi Tayyibât al-Ta'am wa-l-Alwân (The Highlight of the Tables, in the Delights of Food and Different Dishes), written by Ibn Razîn al-Tujibî; and the anonymous Hispanic-Maghreb Cuisine Treaty.[1]

One of the first designations of the term açorda is found in 16th-century playwright Gil Vicente's Farsa dos Almocreves: “Tendes uma voz tão gorda/ que parece alifante/ depois de farto de açorda”.[4] (Roughly: You have such a big voice/ that it sounds like an elephant/ after too much bread soup.)

The dish's origins are as a poverty food, intended to prevent waste by using leftover bread, that evolved into a classic of Portuguese and particularly Alentejan cuisine.[5][6][3][7]


The etymology of the term “açorda” goes back to the Arabic language. The etymological root, tharada, means "to break bread". The classic form found in Arabic literature is tharîd or tharîda, with the plurals tharâ’id or thurûd, meaning “crumbed and soaked bread”.[1][8]

The Portuguese term “açorda” comes, however, from the dialectal form of Andalusi Arabic, spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, thurda / çurda or thorda / çorda, the latter the etymological link closest to the current Portuguese term, and to which the article “al” was associated, which, in certain cases it loses its normal consonant sound, and starts to be pronounced like the first letter of the next word, such as açúcar, as-sukkar, or azeite, from az-zayt.[1][8] Al-thurda, a Moorish pronunciation, evolved into açorda.[2]

Ingredients and variants[edit]

Açorda à Alentejana
Porridge-like açorda de marisco, from Olhão

The dish is traditionally made with pao Alentejano.

Throughout Portugal there are multiple variants of garlic and cilantro bread soup; the most notable originated in Alentejo, where an açorda, also called açorda Alentejana or açorda à alentejana, has the consistency of a soup and is widely served in homes and restaurants throughout the region.[9][5][8][10] According to Travel Magazine, it is "arguably Alentejo's signature dish".[11] According to Publico it is an icon of Alentejan cuisine.[12] Açorda à Alentejana was one of the finalist candidates for the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy [pt].[13][14][15]

In other regions of Portugal the bread may be boiled in the broth and the dish may have a consistency similar to that of a porridge.[16][17][18]

Other variations may include sausage, shrimp or codfish;[1][16] the codfish version is called açorda de bacalhau.[5] The version with shrimp is called açorda de marisco.


The dish is typically assembled from prepared ingredients rather than cooked, although some versions call for cooking the bread, cilantro, and garlic in the broth.

In a typical preparation the eggs are poached in salted water or stock. Garlic, coriander and salt are mashed into a coarse paste with olive oil and vinegar, and the mixture is poured over the bread. The eggs are placed on the bread and the poaching liquid is poured over. The açorda is typically left to steep for a few minutes to soften the bread.[5][19]

Some recipes call for coating the bread in the garlic-coriander paste, then folding it into the eggs in their poaching liquid.[20]

The final dish usually has a bright green color.


  1. ^ a b c d e Rei, António. "A Açorda. Uma sopa de pão, da Alta Idade Média à atualidade" (PDF). NOVA University Lisbon. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom; Vannithone, Soun (2014). The Oxford companion to food. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 818. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  3. ^ a b Bruno, Cátia (2017-10-03). "A Comfort Food From a Time of Hunger". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  4. ^ "Açordas". www.virgiliogomes.com. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Açorda à Alentejana | Traditional Bread Soup From Beja District | TasteAtlas". TasteAtlas. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  6. ^ Kronenthal, Melissa (2012-01-14). "Portuguese soup transforms stale to steamy good". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  7. ^ Howe, Marvine (1989-01-15). "FARE OF THE COUNTRY; The Hearty Breads Of Portugal's Hearths". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  8. ^ a b c Rocha, Ana (2022-10-21). "Açorda Alentejana, Prato presente em qualquer mesa da região!". Rádio Campanário (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  9. ^ Anderson, Jean (2013-10-21). "The Food I Dream Of". Saveur. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  10. ^ Tem raízes no Alentejo e faz parte do cartaz de boas-vindas da região. Conheça a açorda à alentejana (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-05-19 – via cnnportugal.iol.pt.
  11. ^ Chakraborty, Sneha (2021-02-15). "Top 10 things to see and do in Alentejo, Portugal". The Travel Magazine. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  12. ^ Lusa, Fugas (2024-01-04). "Mourão aquece Janeiro com mais açorda alentejana". PÚBLICO (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  13. ^ "Apresentação". Maravilhas da Gastronomia. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  14. ^ "7 Maravilhas da Gastronomia". Online 24. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Portugueses podem escolher as 7 Maravilhas da Gastronomia". DN Portugal. Archived from the original on 2015-06-18.
  16. ^ a b Gritzer, Daniel (16 March 2023). "Açorda à Alentejana (Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup) Recipe". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  17. ^ Serrano, Augusta (2024-02-04). "A Verdadeira Açorda: Uma única versão autêntica alentejana!". Rádio Campanário (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  18. ^ Noone, Yasmin (27 April 2022). "Move over custard tart: Portuguese cuisine is stepping out". SBS Food. Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  19. ^ Serrano, Augusta (2021-09-12). "Açorda Alentejana, um dos mais belos pratos da gastronomia Alentejana! " De comer e chorar por mais…"". Rádio Campanário (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-05-19.
  20. ^ Anderson, Jean (21 October 2013). "Açorda à Alentejana (Bread and Garlic Soup with Cilantro)". Saveur.

Further reading[edit]