Moroccan Harira

Serve harira with fresh crusty bread. Image: Fatiha El Biyed

Serve the Harira dish with fresh, crusty bread. Image: Fatiha El Biyed

In Morocco, Harira is a must to break the fast of Ramadan. It is generally served with a piece of wedged lemon and dates. It can also be served as a hearty meal with fresh crusty bread.

Harira recipes vary tremendously from one family to another, mainly in consistency and the herbs added. It is very easy to make, but has many ingredients. I suggest preparing all the ingredients and organising them before starting to cook the Harira.


  • 1/2 kg diced lamb
  • 3 onions ( grated )
  • 1 bottle of tomato passata
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 c celery leaves
  • 1 c plain flour
  • 1 c of canned chickpeas (or 1 c dry chickpeas soaked in water overnight)
  • 1/2 c of lentils (soaked in water for 1 hour)
  • 2 L of water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c of vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Spices:
    • 1 tsp salt (to be adjusted during cooking)
    • 1 tsp black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp cinnamon powder.


There are three main steps for making the Harira. In the first step, the meat and legumes are cooked. I used lentils and chickpeas in this recipe. Because I used canned chickpeas, I added them to the soup at the end. If you use dried chickpeas instead, let them soak in water overnight then cook them with the meat in step one.

In step two, we add the tomato mixture. Finally, in step three, we thicken the soup with flour.

By: Fatiha El Biyed

By: Fatiha El Biyed

Step 1: Cooking the Base

  1. On medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in your pot. Add the grated onion, diced meat, and spices (salt, pepper, ground ginger, turmeric powder, cumin, and cinnamon stick).
  2. Brown the meat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add lentils and add 1 litre (or 4 cups) of water.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes of cooking, check on the meat and add another 1 litre (4 cups) of water.


Step 2: Adding the Tomato Mixture

  1. In a food processor, mix the tomatoes, celery, parsley and coriander until you get a smooth mixture.
  2. After 30 minutes of cooking the meat (in Step 1), we are ready for Step 2.
  3. Add a little bit of the soup sauce to 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to dilute it. Then add the tomato paste to the soup.
  4. Add the tomato and celery mixture to the soup and mix.
  5. Taste the soup and adjust the salt accordingly.
  6. Lower the heat to medium and cook the soup, covered, for 10 minutes.


Step 3: Preparing the Thickening Flour Mixture

  1. After 10 minutes of cooking the soup, add 1 cup of canned chickpeas.
  2. Dilute 1/4 cup of plain flour in some water. Mix very well until all the flour is dissolved.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the soup, while stirring continuously, until the soup thickens. You many not need to use all the flour mixture, so add it little by little.
  4. Cook the soup for two to three minutes.
  5. At the end, beat an egg with a fork, then add it to the soup while continuously stirring the soup. Cook for another three minutes, then serve!

Bisaha wa raha.

By Fatiha El Biyed

Born and raised in Morocco, Fatiha migrated to Australia in the late 1980s with her family. Her passion for cooking was instilled since youth, when she and her siblings would surround their mother to learn all the techniques, ingredients and aromas of their kitchen. Fatiha now runs her own small catering business from home, specialising in Moroccan foods and sweets.

Categories: Food, Ramadan Cookbook

1 reply»

  1. I strongly disagree with the use of cumin & cinnamon in Harira! The only spices us are pepper, ginger and saffron! Trust me, I’ve been making Harira for over 30 years & I know what I’m talking about !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account.Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account.Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account.Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s