Harira: Harira Recipe

Harira is the national soup of Morocco, traditionally served to end the fast of Ramadan. This nourishing soup, homely and sublime, is a meal in itself any other time for anybody. You will find as many recipes for Harira as there are cooks in Morocco but the dish is generally peppery and lemony, with plenty of vegetables and meats and thickened with tedouira – a mixture of yeast of flour and water. This is a simple recipe for a Harira of lentils, noodles and lamb in a thick, rich tomato sauce.

Serves 6 people

900g (2 lbs) red, ripe tomatoes – peeled, seeded and pureed
225g (½ lb) shoulder of lamb, cut into small cubes
8 tablespoons dried lentils
8 tablespoons soup noodles
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely-chopped celery leaves
1 tablespoon smen
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly-chopped parsley
2 tablespoons coriander leaves
3 tablespoons plain flour mixed with 8 tablespoons water for tedouira
3 lemon wedges
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in the smen and then add the celery leaves, spices, parsley, lamb, salt and pepper. Cook slowly, turning the mixture over for 20 minutes or until golden but not browned.

Meanwhile, make a coriander paste by pounding the coriander leaves with a little salt in a mortar. Add this paste, along with the lentils and the tomato puree to the pot and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. Pour in 1 litre of water and cook until the lentils are soft and tender and the soup is well blended.

When the soup is ready to serve, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Then, with the soup at a steady simmer, stir the tedouira (flour water mixture) into the pot with a long wooden spoon. Continue stirring slowly, to avoid any