Monday, January 28, 2008

Moroccan Harira

There was an article titled The Soup Cure in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times all about healing soups from around the world. Included were 6 recipes for traditional soups from various cultures. Last night for dinner, we had the Moroccan Harira, which is served in Morocco to break the fast each night during the 40 days of Ramadan. Of the 6, I selected it because it had the lowest amount of fat and calories.

But last night, when it got close to dinner time and I was completely immersed in homework, I asked my husband to prepare dinner. He, bless him, is not a very good cook. Don't believe me?

Exhibit A: When we were dating, he served me his version of "Pasta with Marinara Sauce", which proved to be Top Ramen with ketchup.

I shit you not.

If there were ever a way to put a recipe to the ultimate test, having him prepare it would certainly be it. I'm happy to report we both loved this soup. If he can prepare it, so can you!

Moroccan Harira

The article says it serves 8 but I think it's more like 6. Or maybe we were just really hungry. Anyhow...

  • ½ cup green lentils
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger (we used fresh, grated ginger)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup vermicelli (my market didn't have it so we sub'ed fusilli)
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour (we used unbleached)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  1. To make Harira: Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and cinnamon; sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in tomatoes, and sauté 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in broth, chickpeas, lentils, reserved tomato liquid, and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. To make Tadouira: Whisk flour with 1 cup water in bowl. Whisk in cilantro, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Stir Tadouira and vermicelli into Harira, and cook 3 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per Serving: 179 cal; 7 g prot; 3 g total fat (0.5 g sat fat); 33 g carb; 0 mg chol; 537 mg sod; 6 g fiber; 5 g sugars

It was cold and rainy here yesterday and this soup warmed us up, filled out bellies, and tasted pretty damn good, too! The cinnamon stick pushed the flavor and aroma over the threshold of just good to ... mmmmm, are there going to be enough leftovers for dinner tomorrow night? The chickpeas (and you know how I love me some chickpeas) added lovely morsels of chewy texture to each bite. The only thing we both thought it needed was a bit of salt. If I were preparing this for someone with a head cold, I'd amp up the ginger to clear out the sinuses and perhaps add some garlic to power-punch the cold into submission.

Tastes great. Healthy. Low fat and calories. We'll be making this one again. Soon, I hope. Think I can get him to cook again next weekend? Hmmm, I feel more homework coming on!

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