Moroccan Harira with spicy Harissa paste

11:21 AM

Last month we celebrated our anniversary.  Sometimes am amazed to realize how time flies. It seems only yesterday that all our friends and relatives gathered to bless us for our new journey and now we have our 10 months old to cuddle. When I first stepped in the house in Bangalore there was nothing except a gas oven, TV and the mattress. Then slowly we ordered furniture, bought utensils, decorated the place to suit our taste and now we have a house that we can call HOME.

Anniversary for us is a very important and private affair and we love to spend it together with gifts, good food and candle lights. Every year I give him a surprise party cooking something that I never tried before. I was quite in a dilemma as what to prepare this year. For work he often has to go to Israel and he completely is smitten by the various cuisines available there. Sometimes back he mentioned of this spicy Moroccan food which he loved very much, so I thought of trying Moroccan theme this year. Recently a great joint has opened up here called Mezze where they serve great Mediterranean cuisine and we simply love the couscous salad out there. Following all these the menu for our anniversary was

Harira with Harissa Paste

Broken wheat salad with grilled vegetables and fish (my take on couscous salad)

And for a sweet ending Black Forset Cake.

I will provide the recipes one by one. This time it’s the much loved Harira Soup which is a spicy Lentil soup with vegetables and chicken or beef. This is mainly eaten to break the all day fast during Muslim Holy month Ramadan. Though am just introduced to Moroccan cuisine but I must admit am just hooked to this spicy, aromatic and hearty food. This cuisine uses a lot of spices, herbs, olive oils and dry fruits. No dish is complete without cumin, saffron, mint and parsley. A traditional Moroccan meal will start with salad or soup and followed by Tazine either with couscous or bread. Bread is very important in their meal and almost eaten with every meal. The desserts are mostly prepared with dry fruits which are abundant in the area and they like to sip in sweet mint tea the whole day as a ritual. Harira is generally made with chicken. Beef or lamb but I made a vegetarian version and we just loved, loved and loved this dish. Though we ate it as a first course but with some bread this could be a meal in itself. It’s a thick hearty soup with all the goodness of proteins from lentils, vitamins and minerals from veggies, carbohydrate from pasta and flavor from the herbs. A complete healthy meal that gives you everything in a bowl. A must try if you like soups and as for us we are going to make it again and again and again.

While I was searching for Moroccan Harira I got this where it is suggested to serve it with Harissa, a North African chilli sauce made with chillies, herbs and tomatoes. This very hot spice paste is well known in Europe and America as they are now a day’s available off the rack in tubes.

Now let’s go to the recipe

Harira with hot Harissa paste (serves 2 as a main meal)

Red Lentil (Masur): 8 tbsp
Chickpeas: a handful
Onion: 1 small
Tomato: 2 medium
Celery: 1 stalk
Mint leaves: a handful
Parsley: a handful
Coriander leaves: a handful
Potato: 1 small
Squash: ½
Beans: 6-7
Carrot: 1 big
Caraway seeds: ½ tsp
Cumin powder: 1/3 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/3 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/3 tsp
Ground ginger: ½ tsp
Rice noodles/vermicelli/small pasta: a handful; I used broken spaghetti
pepper corn: 6-7 pieces
stock cube: 1 (I used Maggi vegetable stock cube)
whole wheat flour: 2 tbsp
a pinch of saffron
olive oil: 1 tbsp
salt to taste
Lemon: to serve

(I know this is a long list but these are things which are very common in almost all kitchens.)

Method: soak the chickpeas for 3-4 hours and cook with salt for 2 whistles. Keep aside.

Chop the veggies in small pieces. Chop the herbs roughly and keep aside.
Pick and wash the red lentil and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a big pan and add the caraway seeds. When crackle, add the chopped onion and celery. Fry till onions are light pink.

Add in the ginger, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric powder. Fry on low till a nice fragrance come through.

Add all the veggies and salt. Mix everything together. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.

Once the veggies are a little dry add in drained red lentil. Stir till the lentils change the colour.

Add a liter of warm water. Break in the stock cube and stir till it dissolve. Put the whole tomatoes in the pan and let it cook covered on medium.

Once the lentil is cooked but still hold the shape (about 7-9 minutes) smash the tomatoes with your spatula and tip in the herbs, spaghetti, saffron and chickpeas.

Again cover and let it cook till the red lentils totally dissolves and gives a smooth consistency to the soup.

Now mix the flour in 1/3 cup water and mix in the soup to thicken it. Boil for another couple of minutes and your hearty harira is ready to be served.

Harissa Paste

Dry red Chilies:  10 pieces
Fat cloves of garlic: 4 pieces
Caraway seeds: ½ tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Mint leaves: a handful
Parsley: a handful
Tomato: 1 big
Olive oil: 1 tbsp

Soak the chillies in water for 10 minutes and drain the water.

Rub the tomato with little oil and burn it on stove top till the skin is black.

Tip in everything in a mixer and grind to a smooth paste.


Now serve the Harira with this spice mix and lemon wedges. Taste the fruit of your labour and enjoy tasty wholesome goodness in every spoonful.

these hot bowl is off to Susan's MLLA: 20 guest hosted by Crispy cook for February.

Also sending this to Joanne's regional cooking event: middle eastern food.

Have a great Sunday friends!

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  1. Who can say No to that delicious soup. Noodles and chickpeas I am sold. I do like the home made harissa paste.

  2. Wow lovely spread, seems u guys enjoyed having those delicious dishs, i love any sort of Moroccan dish,also am an addict to hariras..urs looks fantastic, beautiful and tooooo yummyilicious..

  3. Belated Happy anniversary wishes! The Soup looks yumm and a very lovely click too.

  4. harissa paste is something new to me...looks gr8

  5. both dishes are new to me..and look great..i seem to have all the ingredients for them..will try.

  6. Oh, I love to make harissa paste at home! It is so delicious and make any meal outstanding. The soup looks very delicious with chickpeas and lentils. Congrats on your third anniversary!

  7. The dishes look perfect Sayantani! Amar onekdiner icche harissa bananor ... kore uththe parini. Grilled dish ta toh oshadharon dekhacche! Happy Aniv! :-)

  8. wow thats a gorgeous colour,i have never heard abt this dish before,but sounds interesting,and must have tasted yummy too...and belated Anniversary wishes,hope u had a lovely day...

  9. What a lovely spread .Looks delicious.

  10. yummy soup....n all the recipes sounds interesting n eager to c them in your upcoming posts..especially your cake is perfect!

  11. Beautiful soup, sounds spicy and great for to have in Winter. Love the post.

  12. @Indo, same here anything with pasta and lentils is appetizing to me.

    @PRiya, you are right we enjoyed a lot.

    @Rachana,Thanks dear. am glad that you all liked this soup.

    @Vrinda, try it once you would be hooked.

    @S, am sure you are gonna like it. its a very flavorful dish.

    @PJ, thanks for your wishes dear.

    @Sharmila, thansk chobigulo raate tola tai khub bhalo lagche na. tabe sotti bolchi khete asadharon.

  13. @Sushma, thankd for your wishes dear. yes we got to spent the time well.

    @Neetz, welcome to my page.

    @Padhu, :-) still you are the queen for food presentation.

    @Asha, the soup is very satisfying. try once very healthy and tasty.

    @Sowmya, thanks will soon come back with those recipes.

  14. Thanks for visiting....happy what a lovely spread...yummy!

  15. the soup and the paste looks very tempting !!!!

  16. Happy anniversary-wow a 3 course home made meal from scratch is quite a treat, bet your husband was thrilled:)

  17. Happy belated anniversary to you both..the whole spread is simply delicious and perfect..

  18. Belated happy Anniversary, the steal of the show is the lovely heart shaped cake. Best wishes.

  19. Harira is a new dish for me. Looks delicious and mouth watering. Thanks for this lovely recipe.

  20. Belated anniversary wishes to you both !!! Thanks for sharing these exotic to me

  21. That's a beautiful spread with inviting recipes. This soup is surely a keeper, must try this spicy thing.

  22. Looks great! And belated anniversary wishes. The cake looks so good. Soup takes the centre stage instant attention grabber.

  23. Love the harissa paste..Great color!Belated anniversary wishes!Wonderful dishes!!I am sure you guys had a blast!

  24. Yum! that looks great and congratulations on your anniversary.

  25. Happy anniversary. That's quite an impressive spread!

  26. Happy Anniv dear Sayantani. May you have many many more beautiful years together.

    Lovely spread

  27. Happy anniversary to you and your husband and here's to many more happy years! And thank you for celebrating in such style with this wonderful soup and for sending it over to My Legume Love Affair. Look for the roundup after Feb. 28.

  28. Yum, it looks delicious. And so healthy too. Bravo for trying and succeeding with a new cuisine. Lucky husband ;-)

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