is one of my favourite soups. It's a Moroccan soup, traditionally eaten during the month of Ramadam, to break the fast at the end of the day.
There are many, many variations of this soup, but at it's core, harira is a thick and nourishing soup which contains spices, pulses and is often finished with fresh coriander or parsley and lemon juice. Lamb or chicken can be used, but it also works beautifully as a meat-free meal. Sometimes noodles are cooked through, and it's often served with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt and cumin, dates or dried figs.
For me, at this time of year, it makes a delicious, hearty and filling meal-in-a-bowl. I make various versions, depending on my mood. This recipe
is particularly rich and hearty, especially with the eggs stirred through at the end and I really like the sprinkle of cinnamon they suggest.
Last night for a change though, I made this lighter version from Made In Morocco by Julie Le Clerc and John Bougen
. It's a simpler, more broth like soup, which, with it's combination of vegetables, chickpeas and noodles still makes an excellent meal-in-a-bowl.
The original recipe used ground cumin and coriander, but I decided to add in a spoonful of Chermoula. I also didn't have the exact vegetables they specified, so substituted the onion, carrot and celery for a combination of leek, capsicum and celery.
Chickpea Harira with Noodles
Serves 2 as a meal.
2 sticks celery
1 red capsicum
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Chermoula
240g cooked or canned chickpeas
100g thin noodles
½ bunch parsley
2 lemon wedges
Prep the vegetables: Finely dice the leek, celery and capsicum – don't be too fussy about this, you want smallish pieces which are about 1cm square.
Cook the vegetables: Put a large saucepan (with a lid) over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and once this is heated, but not smoking, add the vegetables together with a pinch of salt. Place the lid over the pan and cook these vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to gently “sweat” rather than quickly fry and burn.
Add the spices: Add the Chermoula to the vegetables and stir through. Continue cooking gently, for 2 – 3 minutes, until the pan smells fragrant and all the vegetables are covered in spice.
Continue cooking the soup: Add 1.25 litres of water and the chickpeas. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 30 minutes.
To finish: Add the noodles to the soup and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the noodles. Stir through the parsley and serve, with lemon wedges on the side.
Storage and freezing:
The basic soup, without the noodles, keeps really well in the fridge overnight and can also be frozen. I tend to make the basic recipe, then take out what I'm not going to use – put this in plastic containers and keep in the freezer. I then continue making the soup, by adding the noodles and parsley to the remaining portion.