Warm, comforting and filling soup

Recently the warm and comforting Moroccan Harira soup has taken centre stage.

It seems, wherever you go, all places are offering Harira. Right enough, it is a seriously good soup! Harira is a gem in the Moroccan cuisine that is an old Ramadan Tradition. Nowadays, it swept through the region, claiming its rightful place at the top, right next to the popular red lentil soup. Like Lentil soup, Harira includes lentils cooked in chicken or meat broth, however, less of a purist fashion in comparison to the red lentil soup, Harira also includes chickpeas, fried onions, rice and tomatoes along with an array of Moroccan aromatics as is usually the case with North African cuisine. As such, it is a very interesting and delicious soup that’s become the “It” soup which you have got to make and serve, especially during the Holy month of Ramadan.

There are many variations to the recipe, some make it with finely chopped lamb pieces, others keep it vegetarian. Some add celery, leeks and other vegetables, some keep it simple. I have played around a bit with this soup until I reached the recipe I love the most (keeping with the authenticity of the original): this recipe. It is delicious and best of all it is an excellent vegetarian option for the days when you are meatless or wish to consume less meats in general. All you need to do is use vegetable broth. I know you will love this one, but why not take the time and experiment with it to come up with your version of this Ramadan classic?



Serves: 4
  • 100 g dried or canned chickpeas, peeled (soak dried chickpeas overnight)
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
  • 1/4 cup brown rice, washed and drained
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 red tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 tsp tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp DS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of Saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • DS Himalayan Pink Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 ltrs water
  • fried onions for garnish

If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight with a teaspoon of baking soda, then drain the next morning and rinse. If using canned, then drain them and rinse them with cold water. I usually peel off the thin skin on chickpeas, I find that peeled chickpeas have a better texture; but this is totally optional. (No worries about the choice, I understand your time constraints as I have them too!)

In a medium pot, place the chickpeas with 1.5 litres of water and slowly bring to a boil. Skim the surface as foam starts to form. Add cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 60 minutes for dried chickpeas and 30 minutes for canned chickpeas. Add the lentils and rice, bring to a boil and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the olive oil together with the chopped onions, and gently soften without browning.

Rub the saffron between your fingers and add to the onions, together with the salt, turmeric, black pepper, ground ginger and stir to coat.

Once the onions are translucent, add the chopped coriander and cook stirring for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and paste (diluted in 1/2 cup water) to the coriander and onion mixture and cook stirring until it bubbles slightly.

Add this mixture to the chickpeas mixture and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust the liquid by adding more water if needed.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with fried onions and a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley.

Let’s chat – My husband is a soup lover. He can have warm soup any time of the year and every day if he could. Before I met him, I was never that big on soup, don’t get me wrong, I love soup but to me it was more a winter food, and more a Ramadan food than any other time of the year. His love for soup made me become an enthusiast and now I actually don’t mind having soup any day any time! Are you a soup fan too? Which soup is your ultimate favourite? And what makes it so special? I love to know, you may inspire a new recipe, so do let me know.


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Ramadan Kareem!

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