International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Harira

Harira Recipe (North African lamb and chickpea stew)

(North African lamb and chickpea stew)

4
Average: 3.9 (38 votes)

Harira is a soup from the Maghreb region of North Africa that is especially popular as an iftar meal to break the daily fast during Ramadan. There are innumerable variations of this hearty, healthy soup, but most recipes are for chunks of lamb slow simmered with tomatoes, chickpeas, spices and herbs.

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or butter -- 1/4 cup
  • Lamb, cubed for stews -- 1 pound
  • Onion, chopped -- 1 large
  • Celery, chopped -- 2 stalks
  • Turmeric -- 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground ginger -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg -- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Saffron -- big pinch
  • Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
  • Water or stock -- 2 quarts
  • Chickpeas, cooked and drained -- 2 cups
  • Lentils -- 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 cup
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1/2 cup
  • Lemons, cut into wedges -- 2

Method

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the spices and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finally pour in the stock and return the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas, lentils, salt and pepper and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the lentils cooked through and tender.
  5. Adjust seasoning, stir in the cilantro and parsley and serve with lemon wedges for each diner to squeeze into their stew as desired.

Variations

  • Tedouira: harira is traditionally thickened with a type of sourdough starter called a tedouira. Water, flour, tomato paste and herbs are mixed together and sometimes left to ferment overnight. This mixture is then stirred into simmering soups and stews to give it them velvety consistency.
    To make your own tedouira, whisk 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup of tomato paste together until smooth. Whisk into the simmering stew after the lentils have simmered for about 15 minutes and simmer for another 5-10 minutes to thicken the harira.
  • Substitute cubed chicken or beef for the lamb. Or eliminate the meat alltogether for a vegetarian version.
  • Sometimes 2-3 beaten eggs are stirred into the stew at the end to make strands of egg.
  • Add 1 cup soup pasta toward the end. Or add 1 cup of rice along with the lentils. You may need to add a little more water.
  • Moroccans remove the skins from the chickpeas before adding them to the stew. You are forgiven if you forgo this step.

Comments

You would be silly never to make this. This is by far one of the best stews I've tasted. The tedouira was a really nice touch. And yes, I actually did take the time to peel my chickpeas...it is a pain in the ass.

My Algerian husband loved this soup as did his Turkish friend. I added a little cayenne. I'm not sure how authentic the recipe is, but everyone has loved it and I'll be making it again even when it's not Ramadan.

I am Algerian , I live in Algeria
I invite you to visit my countrie and to discover the Hrira
and other dish like couscous , chekchouka , chekhchoukha ,m'hajeb ....

I cooked this for friends. They really loved it. Awesome.

This is pretty close to the actual Algerian recipe, but we use chicken most times instead of lamb. we also use orzo or something called "bird tongue" instead of lentils. i have yet to find the "bird tongue" here in america, even though i've looked for it several times. i don't know the english translation though . . .