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Harira Moroccan soup

Harira is a thick nourishing Moroccan soup with lentils and split chickpeas and is eaten as a warming snack. Hariria is served daily during Ramadan to break the fast, but you can enjoy this delicious vegan soup all throughout the year. We like to garnish ours with an herby chermoula paste. If you can’t find split chickpeas (available from Asian stores) use whole chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked for 1 hour in plenty of water. Drain and then add to the soup with the lentils. Or, easier still, use a tin of chickpeas and add them towards the end of the cooking.

Harira Moroccan Soup

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 500g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see how to peel tomatoes below, or use tinned tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of saffron, infused in 1 tablespoon of hot water
  • 100g red lentils
  • 100g chana dhal (split chickpeas)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (store bought or make your own - see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herb Chermoula

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander

Method:

  1. To make the soup, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute.
  2. Then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and all the spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the red lentils, chana dhal and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils and chana dhal are cooked, which takes about 30-45 minutes. You may need to add more water if the soup gets too thick.
  4. Add the lemon juice, lots of coriander and parsley and season to taste.
  5. To make the Chermoula, place the garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Alternatively chop or grate the garlic as finely as possible, using the salt to help break it down into a paste.
  6. Mix in the rest of the ingredients adding enough olive oil to make a loose paste.
  7. Serve the soup with a generous teaspoon of Chermoula swirled through and more on the table for your guests to add extra.
     

Peeling tomatoes

Make a small slit in each tomato and place them in a heat proof bowl. Pour on boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Take the tomatoes out of the water and peel off the skins.

Homemade stock is great for this soup but don’t be tempted to use any shop bought stock to cook pulses or beans, the salt in it will slow down their cooking.Homemade stock is great for this soup but don’t be tempted to use any shop bought stock to cook pulses or beans, the salt in it will slow down their cooking.

Basic Vegetable Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1.5litres water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered, skin left on
  • 2 carrots, cut in halves
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in halves
  • 1/4 of a fennel bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 8 whole black peppercorns

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan put in all the ingredients, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked & the stock has reduced by a quarter, which takes about 1 hour. Drain the stock into a heatproof bowl or another sauce pan through a colander and discard the cooked vegetables. You should be left with golden, clear stock which can be used immediately, will keep in the fridge for three days, or can be decanted into small Tupperware pots or freezer bags to use any time instead of processed stock.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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