Moroccan Harira Soup – Iftari Recipe competition Week 1

14 August, 2011 By admin

Congratulations to Dounia Taha, our Week 1 winner of Asateer’s Iftari recipe competition. Dounia submitted the famous Moroccan Harira Soup as her entry, which was chosen by our master chefs here at Atlantis as the dish of the week. The recipe provided by Dounia is as follows: Moroccan Harira Soup Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Ingredients: ½ lb uncooked meat (lamb, beef or chicken), chopped into 1/2 inch pieces Several soup bones (optional) 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup 1 or 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped 1 large onion, grated 1 handful of dry chick peas, soaked and then peeled 1 tablespoon smen (optional) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or ¼ teaspoon yellow colorant 6 large tomatoes (about 2 lb. or 1 kg), peeled, seeded and pureed 2-3 tablespoons dry lentils, picked over and washed 3 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed evenly into 1 or 2 cups of water 2 to 3 tablespoons uncooked rice OR uncooked broken vermicelli 1 cup flour


Step 1 Make sure you have all the ingredients. Do the following before you begin cooking the soup.

  1. Soak and skin the chickpeas. (You might want to soak them the night before you cook.)
  2. Pick through the lentils and wash them.
  3. Peel, seed and puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Or, stew the tomatoes and pass them through a food mill to remove the seeds and skin.
  4. Pick the parsley and cilantro leaves from their stems. Small pieces of stem are OK, but discard long, thick pieces with no leaves. Wash the herbs, drain well, and finely chop them by hand or with a food processor. Assemble the remaining ingredients and follow the steps below.

Step 2 – Brown the meat Put the meat, soup bones and oil into a large pressure cooker. Over medium heat, cook the meat for a few minutes, stirring to brown all sides.

Step 3 – Make the stock Add the cilantro, parsley, celery, onion, chick peas, tomatoes, smen and spices. Stir in 3 cups of water. Cover tightly, and heat over high heat until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and release the pressure.

Step 4 – Make the Soup Add the lentils, tomato paste mixture, and 2 quarts (or about 2 liters) of water to the stock. Set aside (but don’t add yet), either the rice or vermicelli. Cover the pot and heat the soup over high heat until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking. If adding rice: Cook the soup on pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure, and add the rice. Cover, and cook with pressure for an additional 15 minutes. If adding vermicelli: Cook the soup on pressure for 45 minutes. Release the pressure, and add the vermicelli. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for five to ten minutes or until the vermicelli is plump and cooked.

Step 5 – Thicken the Soup While the soup is cooking, mix together the 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water. Set the mixture aside, and stir or whisk it occasionally. The flour will eventually blend with the water. If the mixture is not smooth when you’re ready to use it, pass it through a sieve to remove balls. Once the rice (or vermicelli) has cooked, taste the soup for seasoning. Add salt or pepper if desired. Bring the soup to a full simmer. Slowly — and in a thin stream — pour in the flour mixture. Stir constantly and keep the soup simmering so the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom.

You will notice the soup beginning to thicken when you’ve used approximately half the flour mixture. How thick to make Hariri is your own preference. I like to thicken the broth so that it achieves a cream-like consistency.

Simmer the thickened soup, stirring occasionally, for five to ten minutes to cook off the taste of the flour. Remove the soup from the heat.