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.
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion — sliced
- 1cup Tomatoes Puree(can use canned ones too)
- 1/2 cup Chopped Celery Stalks
- 2 Big Carrots Chopped
- 1 Medium Potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1 Big Zucchini/or any squash cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( I used fresh grated ginger)
- 1/2″ cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin/jeera
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander/dhania
- A pinch of caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- A generous pinch of saffron — crushed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
- A fist ful of flat leaf parsley
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup lentils ( I used red lentils/masoor dal)
- water/vegetable stock
- 1 cup garbanzo beans/Chickpeas/Chana (about 16 oz can) – cooked, with liquid
- 1/4 cup orzo (or any other small pasta you will use)
- 1 tablespoon of flour (to thicken the soup…. I have used this instead of egg)
- lemon wedges — as desired/garnish
- Harissa Paste ( I have used my homemade Harissa)
- 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!