What is Harira soup?
A beautiful soup that is designed to nourish our bodies and our fragile souls. Harira soup is a traditional Moroccan soup that is made all year long but traditionally is used to break the fast during Ramadan, every night. It has vegetables such as onion, celery and tomatoes and herbs such as cilantro and parsley. It has some mild spices and it is high in protein thanks to the meat, lentils, egg and chickpeas. Some variations of Harira soup also include fava beans. It is garnished with lemon juice and more fresh herbs on top. Every family has its own recipe but these ingredients are pretty common in this particular soup.
Even though this is served during Ramadan, this Moroccan soup is made all year round in Morocco. The ingredients are readily found in the markets and the endless variations make this a very adaptable soup.
Harira may be my go-to soup in the Fall when the temperature starts dipping. I crave soup all year round but in the Fall, my soup craving go into overdrive.
My seasonal soup cravings:
- Spring – veggie soups, especially tomato
- Summer – broth based soups, especially Asian noodle soups
- Fall – soups with pulses and legumes and potatoes.
- Winter – Senegalese Chicken Soup, Danish Labkovs.
When reading that every family in Morocco has their own recipe for a particular soup, I had to learn how to make Harira soup.
You know this must be an important soup. I couldn’t think of any recipe that every family in America has. Do hamburgers count? Chicken soup, maybe, not really. Most people open a can of soup.
If you can think of an important American recipe that every family in America has, leave a comment. I would love to hear all of the answers.
Harira soup with beef or lamb
Harira can be made with lamb, beef or chicken but never pork, it is forbidden. You may omit the meat altogether, there is plenty of protein without it. If you make this without meat, you might consider adding fava beans or lima beans. Fave bean are traditional but harder to find. Lima beans substitute nicely.
What soup recipes do you have? Have they been handed down through the family? Please share:)
A traditional, hearty, nourishing Moroccan soup.
- 1 lb of meat, cut into small, bite-sized pieces (chicken, beef or lamb)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger or 2 tbs fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 4 cups of broth of your choice
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of lentils that have soaked for one hour in 2 cups of water
- 15 oz can of chickpeas
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (Cento tomatoes are my favorite)
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 2 large eggs, beaten
Cilantro, parsley, juice from a fresh lemon
- Sear meat over med-high heat for 2-5 minutes until browned.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onion until golden, about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add spices (next 7 ingredients), stirring constantly for one minute.
- Add broth.
- Add next 5 ingredients, cook to a low simmer, adjust heat as necessary, for 1 hour.
- Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, stir.
- Mash soup contents with a bean masher or immersion blender or fork in order to release the starch in the beans and thicken the soup. Don’t over mash, you just want to thicken the soup, not puree it. Simmer 30 minutes more.
- While stirring the soup, add the beaten egg.
- Take out the cinnamon stick.
- Garnish and serve.
This is a very adaptable soup, feel free to add more spice, or protein or even less of it.
Pork is never used in Harira, a traditional soup used to break fast during Ramadan.
This soup can easily be vegetarian or vegan.