This traditional soup is eaten to break the fast of Ramadan. Chef Hassan M’Souli’s recipe is a vegetarian version, but you can also add lamb, chicken or beef. In Morocco, harira soup is served with a bowl of fresh dates. While this may seem unusual, the combination is delicious. Hassan advises not to skip soaking the chickpeas overnight, as it will ensure their tenderness.
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 200 g chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 200 g dried brown lentils
- pinch saffron threads
- 1 tbsp saffron colouring
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- ½ red chilli, finely diced
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 5 tbsp plain flour
- juice of 1 lemon
- 800 g crushed canned tomatoes
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 bunch coriander, chopped
- 150 g vermicelli pasta
- croutons or hot crusty bread, to serve
- fresh dates, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: overnight
You'll need to start this recipe 1 day ahead.
Heat oil in a large pot and fry the ginger, garlic, onions, bay leaves and celery until they soften.
Add 2 cups of stock and chickpeas and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the lentils, saffron threads and colouring, sweet paprika, chilli, cumin, salt, pepper and the remaining stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a heatproof bowl, gradually mix 2 cups of water with flour and add lemon juice and tomatoes. Place the bowl over the steaming pot, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Add the parsley and coriander to the bowl, then add the mixture to the soup, stirring constantly.
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vermicelli and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Garnish with coriander and serve with croutons or hot crusty bread.
Serve with dates on the side.