Today we’re making my dad’s famous Moroccan Harira, a soup made to break the fast during Ramadan in Morocco.
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A traditional Moroccan soup
If there was ever a difficult post for me to write, it’s this one. This soup was the last meal my dad made for my husband and I the last time we saw him before he passed last November. It was one of his favorites.
My dad was always taking care of me. Whether it was making me delicious, real food, teaching me how to cook or pushing me to buy that new camera I’d been dreaming about.
I think learning from him is what I will miss the most; being his daughter was the greatest privilege. Even as he cooked that last time for me, so full of life in our kitchen, he encouraged me to write down the recipe, take pictures and make notes about his technique and recipe.
This isn’t just any ordinary recipe. This Moroccan harira is a traditional soup prepared annually during Ramadan to break the fast each night. My dad enjoyed it all year long.
Because I was too busy enjoying his company to jot down his exact recipe (yes, I’m kicking myself), I have been relying on my broken French, Google translate and my saint of an Aunt in Morocco to bring this super special recipe to you.
So thanks to my Baba, my dad, for teaching me how to explore. I love you endlessly.
Ingredients to make Moroccan Harira
- 2 cups garbanzo beans (soak overnight if using dried)
- 1 lb lamb or beef (stew meat cut into cubes)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- ½ cup minced cilantro
- ½ tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp ginger (ground)
- 28 oz tomato puree
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 cup rice
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp water
What to eat with your soup
Every family in Morocco has nuances and differences in how they break the fast, or what we call iftar.
In my family, the focus of the meal is the harira accompanied by dates, hard boiled eggs and traditional sesame honey cookies.
The combination of the warm tomato based soup with sweet dates, hearty eggs and the decadent cookies is the perfect meal after a long day of fasting. I should know as I was always so determined to join my dad in Ramadan traditions (fasting included) as a kid.
We never really put an emphasis on the religious aspects of the holiday, it was more about doing something together.
As an adult, I no longer partake in fasting during Ramadan, but I still enjoy this soup, just like my dad did, all year long.
Making it vegan/vegetarian
Moroccan Harira is not a naturally vegan soup. That said, the trick to making it vegan/vegetarian couldn’t be any easier.
Ready for it?
Just leave out the meat. That’s it. That’s the trick.
This recipe packs a ton of nutrition thanks to garbanzo beans, lentils, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and spices. It will be just as flavorful and delicious without it.