Harira

Harira

Origin: Morocco

Time for Preparation – 10 minutes // Time for Cooking – 40-50 minutes // Ingredients for 4-6 servings

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup dry lentils, rinsed (yellow or red)
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1.5 - 2 cups vegetable stock (or your choice of broth)
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A handful of coriander, chopped
  • A handful of spinach or other greens, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Background

The word “Harira” comes from the Arabic word “Harir”, and means silky in consistency. The dish is a staple in Moroccan culture, often served during celebrations and is quite prominent during Ramadan. During Ramadan, observers do not take food or water from sunrise to sunset. Once the sun fades, many Moroccans will gather to enjoy this dish, which will vary to each person’s preference.

Harira is a hearty soup, which is often served with pita and hummus. It can often be made with chicken, lamb, egg, or lentils. The nice part about Harira is the variations you can make to the recipe, such as using noodles instead of rice, tossing in some hot chili peppers, or adding cooked meat or hardboiled eggs. Feel free to put your own spin, and leave a comment on how it turned out.

Some inspiration from Bridge Rose (http://www.onegreenplanet.org/author/bridge_lucey)

Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add the onion & celery. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions start to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook for another minute

a.       You can also use Ginger-Garlic paste instead

2. Add in dried spices (including ginger), then add in the chopped tomatoes. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the lemon juice, lentils, and rice. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

a.       If you are using meat (chicken for example), have it browned in a separate pan, and add along with the lentils.

4. When the lentils start to get tender, add the chickpeas, fresh coriander, and any other greens. In this case, I used spinach. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

a.       Lift the chicken out, shred it finely and put back into the soup

5. Can be served in a bowl with pita and hummus.

6. Variations

a.       Add grilled chicken or lamb with chili peppers

b.       Swap rice for thin noodles

c.       Add sweet potatoes, serve with yogurt and dates/raisins