Moroccan chickpea soup

Moroccan chickpea soup

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Known as harira, this soup is a Moroccan favourite, particularly popular during Ramadan, when it is served after a day of fasting. Harira is traditionally eaten with dates and a wedge of lemon or lime. It is often made with lamb in a hearty meat stock. This is a lighter version, all lemony and peppery. Garnish, if you like, with grilled seafood — delicate fillets of red mullet or garlicky prawns work well.



Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g brown lentils
100g chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
2.5 litres vegetable or good-quality chicken stock
400g can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground saffron, lightly roasted and crushed, (about 10 threads)
sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
60ml dry sherry
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves

Garlic prawns

Quantity Ingredient
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
12 king prawns, tails and heads removed
40ml olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently sweat the onion and garlic until they soften. Add the lentils, soaked chickpeas and 2 litres of the stock. Simmer for an hour, or until the lentils and chickpeas are soft and beginning to break down. Use a hand-held electric beater on low speed to crush the pulses, but make sure not to turn them into a smooth purée. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger and saffron. If need be, adjust the consistency with additional stock. Bring the liquid to the boil, season with salt and pepper and finish off with the sherry, lemon juice and zest, parsley leaves, coriander and celery leaves.
  2. Mix the chilli and garlic to a paste and rub it into the prawns. Allow them to sit for half an hour before cooking.
  3. Heat a grill, pan or wok, add the oil and, when it is smoking hot, add the prawns. Cook them on a high heat for 2 minutes. Serve on top of the soup.
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