How to Make Moroccan Harira Soup
Harira is a traditional Moroccan soup. It is popular as a starter but is also eaten on its own as a light snack. There are many variations and it is mostly served during Ramadan, although it can be made throughout the year.
This delicious and wholesome soup is a traditional part of Morocco’s Ramadan iftar (breakfast). It is full of protein and has a comforting, homely taste that fills you up immediately after a day of fasting. However, it is also the perfect way to start the day throughout the year, particularly in cold or rainy weather.
As with most traditional recipes, methods for making Harira vary from region to region and from family to family. In south-eastern Morocco, the soup is made with vegetables instead of legumes like Kale and fava beans as a base.
- 1 onion (grated)
- 4.5 oz (125 grams) beef or lamb meat (cut into small cubes)
- Spices: 1 teaspoon salt (to be adjusted during cooking), 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, a pinch of saffron (optional), and 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 small bouquet of cilantro (21 grams / 0.75 oz) – very finely chopped
- 1 small bouquet of parsley (10 grams / 0.40 oz) – very finely chopped
- 1/2 celery stick
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of canned chickpeas (or 1 cup of dry chickpeas soaked in water over night)
- 1/2 cup of lentils (soaked in water for 1 hour)
- 2 liters of water
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 liters (8 cups) of water
The Harira is very easy to make but has many ingredients. I would suggest to prepare all the ingredients and organize them before starting to cook.
There are 3 main steps for making the harira: in step 1 you cook the meat and the legumes. I am using lentils and chickpeas. However, as I am using canned chickpease, I will add them to the soup at the end. If you use dried chickpeas, let them soak in water overnight, and cook them with the meat in step 1. In step 2, we add the tomato mixture. Finally, in step 3 we thicken the soup with flour.
Step 1: Cooking the Base
- On medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in your pot. Add the grated onion, diced meat, and spices (salt, pepper, ground ginger, turmeric powder, pinch of saffron threads, and cinnamon stick).
- Brown the meat for 3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of lentils and add 1 liter (4 cups) of water.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes.
- After 15 minutes of cooking, check on the meat and add another 1 liter (4 cups) of water.
Step 2: Preparing / Adding the Tomato Mixture
- Boil some water and place the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minutes. 2- Remove the tomatoes from the water, let them cool down, peel them, and slice them.
- Cut 1/2 celery stick in small cubes.
- In a food processor, mix the tomatoes and celery, until you get a smooth mixture.
- After 30 minutes of cooking the meat (in step 1), we are ready for step 2.
- Add a little bit of the soup sauce to 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to dilute it. 7- Then add the tomato paste to the soup.
- Add the tomato and celery mixture to the soup and mix.
- Add the finely chopped cilatnro and parsley to the soup.
- Taste the soup and adjust the salt accordingly.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook the soup, covered, for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Preparing the Thickening Flour Mixture
- After 10 minutes of cooking the soup, add 1 cup of canned chickpeas.
- Dilute 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in some water. Mix very well until all the flour is dissolved.
- Add the flour mixture to the soup, while stirring continuously, until the soup thickens. You many not need to use all the flour mixture, so add it little by little.
- Cook the soup for 2-3 minutes.
- At the end, beat an egg with a fork, then add it to the soup while continuously stirring the soup. Cook for another 3 minutes before serving!
Taste the harira soup and add salt if needed.
Now you’re ready to serve your soup. It tastes best accompanied by dates and some sweet Moroccan chebakia.