A bowl of Moroccan Harira soup

How to Make Harira

Origin: Morocco

Type: Soup

Main Flavours: Tomato, spices

About Harira

Harira is a Moroccan soup, rich with both cultural heritage and strong flavours. As you’ll read below in Zsófi’s section, it is typically enjoyed by families during Ramadan to break their fast. This hearty soup features a blend of tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and many spices to give it a strong, rich and spicy flavour. Harira is not just a soup but a Moroccan tradition, a symbol of much more than its delightful flavours.

Click here for our Harira recipe!

What Zsófi Says About Harira:

The history of this rich tomato-based soup is intertwined with the history of Morocco where it symbolises unity and togetherness. It is often prepared during the month of Ramadan where it is served as the first dish of the iftar meal, accompanied by dates, figs, and sweet pastry, as families break their fast together over big bowls of steaming broth. Its origins themselves are deeply ingrained in that of Ramadan as it dates back to the 9th century where it was originally created to nourish people after a long day of fasting. This is reflected by its ingredients which consist of a rich variety of legumes such as lentils, fava beans, and chickpeas which are supplemented in some households by rice or vermicelli noodles to thicken the mixture.

It is a wonderfully velvety and creamy soup which is unsurprising given that the name comes from the Arabic ‘hareer’, meaning smooth. Harira, however, is not for lovers of bland food (if such people even exist) as it brings together a rich blend of herbs and spices which, depending on family recipe, can include parsley, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and even a bit of lemon zest! To chunk up the broth, some families add pieces of lamb or beef, but good news – Harira is a mostly meat-free dish and is easy to find all year round!

Read Zsófi’s full article on soups from around the world here.

Harira Recipe

Harira Ingredients

1 cup of dried lentils, rinsed and drained

½ cup of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (can be either straight from the tin or soaked overnight if dried)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 minced cloves of garlic

6-8 large tomatoes, diced, or 2 tins of crushed tomatoes (or a mixture)

2 tbsp tomato paste

¼ cup fresh parsley

¼ cup fresh coriander

¼ cup fresh celery leaves

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of saffron threads

6 cups of vegetable broth

¼ cup of uncooked vermicelli noodles (you can replace this with cooked rice or broken spaghetti pieces in a pinch)

Juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil for cooking

Harira Instructions

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large, deep pan over a medium heat, then saute the garlic and onions until soft (5-10 minutes).

Stir in the diced or tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, cilantro, celery leaves and all the spices. Cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rinsed lentils and soaked chickpeas into the pot, along with the vegetable broth. Bring the whole mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer covered or partially covered for 30 minutes until the chickpeas and lentils are cooked.

Stir in the vermicelli noodles (or their replacement) and cook for an additional ten minutes, or until the noodles are cooked.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve with crusty bread or Moroccan flatbread.

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