Cooking and eating this popular Moroccan favourite brings back wonderful memories of my trip to Morocco a few years back. I remember rather vividly the bunch of us, despite being well fed by our hosts that evening (we were there for a concert performance) were famished by the time we got back to our hotel in the city of Rabat. The good thing about cities in Morocco, is that at close to midnight, the bustle of life is still going strong. We ventured to a row of shops nearby and found this little stall selling harira, and if I remembered correctly – for only five dirhams a bowl. (That’s 40p!!) The fragrant little bowl of spiced soup was just what we needed as a late night supper.
Harira is Morocco’s famous lentil and tomato soup. It’s fragrantly spiced with ginger, pepper, cinnamon and turmeric, cooked with copious amounts of parsley and coriander. The traditional Moroccan Harira plays a very important role as the soup used for breaking fast during the Ramadan period, however it is eaten all year round as well and enjoyed by many.
There are both vegetarian and meat versions of the soup, both equally hearty as there are many ingredients including lentils, chick peas, rice noodles, tomatoes, celery, onions and eggs.
I made a meat version of the harira (no surprise there!) using beef instead of lamb. Although there are many ingredients to the soup, preparation is really simple. I followed this particular recipe which I found online and the soup was a delicious success. Aromatic spices and herbs, bits of tender beef, wonderful flavours and textures of the lentils, chick peas and noodles, slight tanginess from the lemony egg mix. There are many recipes for Harira available, all claiming to be authentic, and I have a sneaky suspicion that they will all end up tasting similar – give or take a few differences in ingredients. No matter, this is one good soup and though I will not get it for 40p a bowl anymore, I’ll gladly cook it again…and again…and again. To more slurpy goodness.