Friday, July 09, 2010

Amazing Harira - A Moroccan Marvel!

In my continuing quest to explore the cuisine of Morocco, I checked out a bunch of books from the library... including "The New Book of Middle Eastern Cuisine" by Claudia Roden. Wow. What an amazing book. I'm gonna have to put this one on my wish list, for sure. It is most definitely not a vegan book, but it's full of enticing flavor combinations and ideas that could easily be put to use, even in a vegan kitchen.

Last night I made a veganized version of Roden's Harira recipe. Harira is a tomatoey-chickpea soup that was omnipresent in Morocco. Imagine my delight to see that this "vegetable" soup is traditionally made with marrow bones and 1 lb of lamb. Hm. Well, I left those out! I did a little improvising, made a half batch (I didn't really need 10 servings for the two us!), and we were both overwhelmed by the glorious soup that I ended up with.

It was thick and hearty, creamy and fresh. Somehow, all the flavors harmonized so nicely, but each element maintained its own unique presence in the mix - nothing was particularly overpowered or dominant. Just a perfect combination! It's a new favorite for sure, and fat free to boot!

Amey's Vegan Harira Recipe
(with thanks to Claudia Roden for guidance!)
makes 5 lady-like servings or 4 gluttonous Amey-sized portions

6 cups broth (I used 3 c broth, 2 c water and 1 c chickpea cooking water)
1 large red onion, diced
3/4 c brown lentils (dry)
3 c diced tomatoes (fresh or canned - i used half and half)
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp ~ but I was using unsalted broth)
1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas, and their cooking water (water optional)
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp white rice
2 1/2 Tbsp white flour
3/4 c water
1/2 c chopped cilantro
scant 1/4 c chopped parsley

To prepare:
Put the broth (or broth/water combo), diced onion, lentils, tomatoes, celery, pepper, ginger in a large stock pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the salt, chickpeas, and rice and cook for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, whisk together the flour and water and 1 cup of the broth from the big pot. Over medium heat, bring to a low boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring or whisking often, until thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat.

After the 15 minutes, add in the flour/broth mixture, stirring steadily. Add in the chopped herbs, and dig in! Enjoy!


  1. I actually have Claudia Roden's original book of middle eastern food (first published in 1968, and received by me in 1976!!as a birthday present from Linda Pope.) I have enjoyed using it from time to time, but you would get a lot more out of it, so I would happily pass it along to you. Will put in the "take to Amey" pile.

  2. This looks great. A friend of mine used to live in Morocco and would make stuff like this all the time. With the tea I was spoiled!

  3. That recipe looks right up my alley! Thanks!

  4. its extremely hot here for soup, but I copied the recipe for the fall.

  5. This looks really delicious! I love soup too!

  6. I love anything with chickpeas. Soup looks fantastic!

  7. This look divine! Cant wait to try it! My tastebuds are already drooling.

  8. this looks delicious! thanks for sharing.

  9. I love Moroccan flavors! Your soup looks and sounds delish.

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  11. Great photo! Looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)


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