Harira – A Taste of Morocco

Are we ready to go back to healthy eating after all those cakes, cookies & holiday dinners? I am. I have indulged, baked a lot & my clothes are not too happy with how they fit:-) So how about a bowl full of soup? no not bland… the soup which spells flavor & sensations! Bursting with sense awakening taste with every spoonful…I am talking about Harira… The Traditional Moroccan Soup usually served during the month of Ramadan to break the fast. It is also served during any special celebrations like weddings. Usually lamb or beef is added to the soup, but it can be done without meat too.

Well it does not have to be eaten for an ocassion… it can be savored anytime, for it does taste really really good. It is a dish by itself, as it contains all the wholesome goodness of lentils, chickpeas, vegetables, rice or pasta & above all tantalizing spices & herbs… the taste & aroma which is hard to forget & make you crave for more.

So here it is… I looked for a traditional recipe, most of them were kind of alike with the same ingredients. This is a vegetarian version of the Harira, I did add a few more veggies than the traditional recipes- that however did not interfere with the taste. Do not get intimidated by the long list of ingredients, a lot of them are spices required only in small quantities.


  1. 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  2. 1 Large Onion — sliced
  3. 1cup Tomatoes Puree(can use canned ones too)
  4. 1/2 cup Chopped Celery Stalks
  5. 2 Big Carrots Chopped
  6. 1 Medium Potatoes, peeled & cubed
  7. 1 Big Zucchini/or any squash cubed
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( I used fresh grated ginger)
  9. 1/2″ cinnamon stick
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  11. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin/jeera
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander/dhania
  13. A pinch of caraway seeds
  14. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  15. A generous pinch of saffron — crushed
  16. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  17. A fist ful of flat leaf parsley
  18. salt
  19. freshly ground  black pepper  to taste
  20. 1/2 cup lentils ( I used red lentils/masoor dal)
  21. water/vegetable stock
  22. 1 cup garbanzo beans/Chickpeas/Chana (about 16 oz can) — cooked, with liquid
  23. 1/4 cup orzo (or any other small pasta you will use)
  24. 1 tablespoon of flour (to thicken the soup…. I have used this instead of egg)
  25. lemon wedges — as desired/garnish
  26. Harissa Paste ( I have used my homemade Harissa)
  27. Chopped dates or raisins or figs.. any dry fruit you would want to add for garnish


If you are using garbanzo beans/ chickpeas not in the can, you will need to boil/cook them first.

Heat the Olive Oil. Add the celery & the onion. Stir fry till the onions are transluscent & slightly brown.

Add the Lentils, Potato, Zucchini/or any squash, Carrots, Cumin, Coriander, Caraway seeds, Cinnamon sticks, Paprika, Turmeric, Ginger & Saffron. Stir fry at medium heat till you get a smoked aroma. At this stage the spices mature and you will have the spicy, smoky fragrance. Be careful not to overdue or the spices will burn.

Add the water/stock, salt, tomato puree, black pepper, & garbanzo/chickpeas. Cover & boil at medium heat for about 15 -20 minutes.

Whisk the flour to about 1/2 cup water till smooth, & add it to the soup. Add the orzo/any other pasta. (If you want a soup of thicker consistency, do add a little bit more flour).

Add the parsely & the cilantro/fresh coriander leaves. Cover & Simmer at low heat for about another 20 minutes.

Ladle in to bowls. Below is the hot steaming soup, just cooked.

Squeeze lemon in to the soup. Garnish with fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped dates or raisins & harissa. If needed, you can mop it off  with any kind of bread you want, like any Turkish flatbread or Poee.

I actually loved the addition of the sweet dates or raisins. It is a perfect blend of taste that will surely tickle all your tastebuds.

This is by far the best vegetable soup I have ever tasted. The richness of flavor with the saffron & the other spices, is just beyond compare. During this time of the year, with all the spices in it, the taste is divine. I cannot say enough about how healthy it is.. Every spoonful is loaded with the vegetables, the protein of the lentils & the beans & also added is the slight carb you need in the pasta. It is just a complete meal in itself.

Sending this to FIC:YELLOW hosted my Sunshine mom of Tongue Ticklers, MLLA Seventh Helping hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons & started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, JFI:Chickpeas hosted by Sometime Foodie, & originally conceived by Indira & No Croutons Required: Vegetables Soup hosted by Lisa’s Kirchen.

Do make yourself a bowl of Harira & Enjoy!

Related Posts:
Minestrone Soup

Poee:Mildly Spiced Goan Bread

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47 comments to Harira – A Taste of Morocco

  • Yes, I am ready for healthy eating! This looks wonderful!

    Thanks Maryann:-)

  • Ann

    Goodness,thats a perfect nutriotious treat..tempting color and looks yummy..

    Thanks Ann:-)

  • Yeah i totally agree about the healthy eating after all the parties.
    This looks really delicious and comforting.

    Thanks you!

  • Oh, So YUM! What a winter meal, thank you for this!

    Thanks Supriya!

  • Thats such a wonderful dish!..looks very delicious soma..thanks for the lovely entry!

    Thanks Srivalli:-)

  • mohana

    This is so nutritious !! Can supplement for a whole meal !! Well done Soma !

    Thanks Mohana 🙂

  • ms

    Hi soma,
    thank you for your lovely Moroccan soup for JFI Chickpea. Looks really nutritious.


    Thanks a lot.

  • Cham

    Looks very filling ur soup, delicious way to eat dinner 🙂

    Yes we loved our dinner! Thanks.

  • Hey Soma, the pictures are absolutely beautiful and tempting, esp the first one!! The soup sounds great!!

    Thanks JZ!

  • Wonderful comforting soup for a winter day, looks delicious! 🙂

    Thank you Asha!

  • wow awesome click. never tasted this dish. but looks great.

    Thanks Mahimaa.

  • Hi soma, thanks for visting my blog. This is such a lovely one pot meal. And I can imagine how delicious the dates/raisins will be with the spices. I am definitely going to make this soon, will keep you posted when do make it.

  • Knock knock!! It’s me, and I am all set for a sip off that bowl:) Thank you Soma, for the delicious soup at FIC-Yellow:)

  • Lovely dear,I too had planned on this.This looks too tempting and perfect 😛

  • Hi Soma,

    Loooks delicious. Healthy recipe and a beautiful click too. Thanks for droppiong in my blog.

  • Harira looks delicious, thx for the lovely recipe!will try it out soon.

  • Soma,
    soup looks great and comforting , perfect for this winter season..
    eyi tate ki keema aar vermicelli add kore , tumaar ta veg -version na ..
    hugs and smiles

  • looking delicious and yummy n nice colur

  • Delicious soup Soma…i had once this soup..thanks for sharing..need to try now..

  • This is what truly is a bowl of goodness 🙂

  • My! What a gamut of spices and stuff! Inspite of the long list I find it very doable … kintu veg version ta korte hobe amaye. Garbanzo beans er bodole ki use korte pari ektu janio. 🙂

  • Moroccan food is a huge favorite- it’s healthy and delicious, so what’s not to love? This soup looks amazing, and would be wonderful on a winter’s night.

  • Looks delicious, very authentic…. nice presentation too..

  • I am totally ready after all those cakes and cookies! Never had this before… looks nice and filling.

  • bee

    i remember eating something similar at a mediterranean restaurant. this looks great.

  • I would just love that bowl of harira now. Or any spicy soup – not a soup fan, but I am all for it once you start adding the spices.

  • Please please count me in. It is just not the holidays, but my clothes are not happy with me all the time :-(. The soup is perfect for this weather and the first picture with different colors and combination of bowls looks beautiful.

  • Soma, I stopped by to tank you for your visit to my blog. I’ve stayed awhile. You’ve done beautiful work here. This is a lovely blog. My compliments ….Mary

  • wow so many goodies in one soup..it sure is a nutritious and healthy treat for anyone and anytime

  • This is such a wonderful and healthy soup,loved the flavors used in this too….this is going into my must try asap folder 🙂

  • harissa in harira sounds spicy,and the fruit toppings,looks like a perfect meal:)

  • I love Moroccan food, and Harirra is one old time favorite soup. Yours look mighty delicious.

  • wow whole meal in one beautiful bowl looks so tempting and helthy too

  • PG

    lovely soup! Yes, count me in too. 🙂

  • Thanks for sending this along for our event. I wish I had a bowl of this lovely soup in front of me right now. I have been enjoying looking through your blog and have added you to my google reader.

  • this looks truly delicious.
    i used to make harira for my husband but i never liked it very much. for some reason i don’t enjoy cinnamon in a savoury context.
    your soup looks so good that i think it’s time to try harira again!

    Thanks Anna! Just make it without the cinnamon! 🙂

  • Kristin


    I made this tonight… thank you for the recipe inspiration!! It was super tasty. I used the traditional egg / lemon mixture for thickener since I was out of white flour, and had to forgo the cilantro & caraway. There’s something so delicious about those spices and lemon in a thick soup like this! It so nice to have a vegetarian version of this dish…

    Just as a note, I think you forgot to say when to add the zucchini (I threw them in with the chickpeas), or what to do with the cinnamon stick (I just gave a couple of shakes of the ground version during the spice additions).

    I will definitely be making this again, and I’ve bookmarked your site. Thanks again, and happy 2009 to you!

    Thank you so much for letting me know that u tried it out & enjoyed it Kristin. I really really appreciate it. I did forget to mention about the zucchini & the cinnamon sticks. Thanks again for pointing those out:-) I have updated the post!

  • You are a very smart person!

  • Mike D

    You never said how much water/stock should be added to this soup.
    Just curious how much you put in. Please let me know cause I want to make it 🙂

    Add as much water as about 2-3 inches above the level of the vegetables and lentils in the pot. There should be enough water to cook the lentils and vegetables. If you need a thinner soup, add more water.

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  • Drea

    How much stock do you use? Do you use one cube? Or for the powder kind, do you use a tsp??

    I meant the liquid stock here. use as much as it is need to cook everything and have a soupy consistency for the recipe.

  • vikki

    Just made this for the first time, exactly as described, except i used sriracha instead of harissa (as this is what i had on hand and the flavors are amazing!! you don’t miss the meat AT ALL! great work!

  • April

    This was really wonderful. I suddenly got a craving for Harira but I have become vegetarian and I wasn’t sure it would taste as good as it did with the Lamb and egg. I never realized the reason it had egg was to thicken it. Learn something new everyday. At any rate this was a great substitute. Next time I think I will put a little more tomato and lemon. The one I ate/made was always more red more twangy. Thanks:)

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