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Tuesday 6 December 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Harira

What do you want to eat in winter? If you're like me, the answer is ALL THE THINGS. All at once, in a bowl, with some warm bread and red wine. Well, harira is just that. In Morocco it's served to break the fast during Ramadan, and it's exactly the sort of hearty warming stew that will warm your body and soul on a cold evening. You don't need to have been fasting all day to appreciate the vibrant colours and flavours; they'll perk you up even if you've been grazing on biscuits all day.

This version is vegetarian, but add diced lamb or mutton to make it meaty. This freezes brilliantly, leaving you to do nothing more taxing that stick it in the microwave after work.

Harira (serves 6)

You will need:
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Tin of chickpeas
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 120g green lentils
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 60g rice
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Half a lemon
  • Small handful of coriander, chopped
Make it!
  1. Put the red onion, carrot and chickpeas into the biggest saucepan you've got and add 1.5l of cold water. Bring to the boil.
  2. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, lentils and spices and simmer for around 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
  3. Add the rice and leave it to bubble for a further 15 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  4. While it's simmering, add 2 tbsp cold water to the flour and whisk into a paste. Add another 2 tbsp of stock from the pan and mix. Turn the heat down on the harira and add the flour paste, stirring thoroughly for a couple of minutes. Do not let it boil or it'll be a right mess. This stage thickens the harira and gives it a smooth texture.
  5. Squeeze in the lemon, throw in the coriander and you're done. Serve with a hunk of bread to mop up all the juices.


  1. This looks delicious! We had a lovely Moroccan meal last night (made with a cook-in sauce - shame on me!) I was wondering how to get all these great flavours - now I have a recipe! Thanks!!!

  2. Yummy, yummy! Great veg recipe, thanks!

  3. Peony and Thistle - nothing wrong with a cook-in sauce once in a while! Harissa paste is an excellent way to add those flavours to a dish. Find it in the spices or world food section of a supermarket.

  4. Great Recipes! Looks delicious and yummy! Thanks for posting this!
    Love your recipes!

  5. Tried this the other night and it wasn't so great. Not much flavour except for the unusual combination of lemon and cinnamon. Oh well...

  6. Absolutely delicious and the perfect antidote to a winters evening. If there are only two of you its perfect for a meal and lunch so I made mine with farro instead of rice (I blame my parents for an irrational fear of reheating rice) ... it tasted even better the next day and went really well with a freshly baked bit of sour dough.

  7. Sorry you weren't a fan, Dawn. As Nick says, it tastes even better the next day so maybe make it in advance if you try it again. Stir in a teaspoon of harissa to ramp up the flavour too.

  8. Sara, we made this to feed the veggies in our group on New Year's Eve and it worked a treat. Perfect for feeding my hangover the next day too!


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