Harira is a soup, usually fairly meaty, which people in Morocco use to break their fast during Ramadan. It just so happens that Ramadan is now, so it turns out this soup was quite a fitting place to start.
I made a vegetarian version of the soup, which usually features chicken hearts and necks. I got some help from two fabulous books I borrowed from the Darebin Libraries: A Taste of Morocco, by Clare Ferguson, and A Season in Morocco, by Meera Freeman.
Thick with lentils and flavourful thanks to the spices, the soup was fantastic, and made a filling meal. I enjoyed the spice combination of cumin, saffron, turmeric, and pepper, and the lemons and tomatoes made it lovely and tart.
I made a few changes but used Freeman’s recipe as my guide so I will post my version, but credit goes to her.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 handful parsley stalks, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- pinch saffron
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- pinch cinnamon
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
- 2 cups tinned tomatoes
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup little soup pastas (I used a broken up vermicelli type)
- salt, lemon juice, coriander and parsley for serving
- In a large saucepan mix onion, parsley, lentils, spices, and water and bring to the boil.
- Bring the heat down to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the lentils from sticking (which mine totally did).
- Add the chickpeas and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, lemon juice and pasta, and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning if needed and add salt.
- (If your lentils stick, like mine did, now is the time to pour the ok soup into another pan, and start soaking the first pan to try to get the burnt lentil gunk off )
- Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and coriander , and with more lemon juice is desired.