vegetable harira (Moroccan soup with tomatoes, chickpeas, celery, lentils, and vermicelli)
recipe under the cut!
serves about 10 (a half recipe is pictured)
- 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick, or 1 tsp group cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout spice blend (optional)
- salt to taste (about 2 tsp to start)
- 2 liters (8 cups) of water
- 3 tomatoes, or about two cups tomato puree
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- a pinch of saffron
- ½ cup brown lentils, soaked for about an hour
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/3 cup vermicelli
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cilantro, diced
- ¼ cup parsley, diced
1. prepare your ingredients. if using fresh tomatoes–place them in a covered bowl with boiling water for a couple of minutes, then peel them. cut them into fourths and remove the seeds. pulse them in a food processor until you get a smooth puree. chop the celery sticks and dice the onion.
2. heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer, then add diced onion, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, and ras el hanout, and cook for about three minutes.
3. lower the heat to medium. add the water, tomatoes, celery, saffron, lentils, chickpeas (if using dried), and butter. cover and allow to cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. add the canned chickpeas. add the tomato paste and flour in bit by bit, stirring continously (you may find this easier if you dilute the tomato paste and flour with some broth from the soup first). taste and adjust spices.
5. add the vermicelli, cilantro, and parsley. cover and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
harira is often served as a first dish during Ramadhan with khobz, dates, and walnuts.