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Ramadan recipes: Harira

Source : Selma Roth | Arab News
Jeddah | 17 Aug 2011

Harira is a very popular Moroccan soup, mixing chickpeas, lentils, lamb and celery with spices as turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. Traditionally, it is eaten to break the fast in Morocco during Ramadan, as the soup is gentle for the empty stomach and full of important vitamins. In Saudi Arabia, it is one of the main soups in Ramadan as well, along with lentil soup and soup with oats. Harira knows many versions — such as with beef, chicken, or vegetarian, or with beaten eggs stirred in at the end — so it definitely suits any taste!


    25 g butter
    300 g cubed lamb meat
    100 g chopped celery
    2 small red onions, chopped
    1 tsp turmeric
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp ground ginger
    ½ tsp ground paprika
    ½ tsp saffron strands
    pepper to taste
    1 can peeled tomatoes
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1.5 liter beef stock
    140 g green lentils
    100 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    100 g vermicelli pasta
    2 tbsp corn flour
    lemon quarters, to serve



- Melt the butter into a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the lamb, celery, onions, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, and saffron strands. Season and stir frequently for 5 minutes.
- Mix the peeled tomatoes and tomato paste to a sauce and pour into the mixture. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour in 1.5 liter beef stock, the lentils and chickpeas, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours until the chickpeas are tender. Add, from time to time, a little more water if necessary.
- About 10 minutes before serving, turn the heat to medium-high. Add the chopped fresh cilantro and parsley, and the vermicelli pasta to the soup. Boil until the soup noodles are al dente. Lower the heat again.
- Bind the soup with corn flour. In order to do so, put the corn flour in a glass or small bowl. Gradually stir some cold water into cornstarch until completely smooth. Pour in soup, while gently stirring until it thickens slightly. Serve hot, with lemon quarters to squeeze over lemon juice to taste.


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