Wednesday, 1 September 2010


A very traditional Ramadan soup in the North-Western areas of Africa (mainly Morocco, but also some parts of Algeria). It's good and filling after a long day of fasting, and of course soups are ideal to restore fluids and hide those greens (if you have picky eaters).
It is eaten every day at iftar, until someone has had enough!

1 lb (450 g) lamb and/or 1/2 lb (225 g) chicken (optional - can be vegetarian as well)
1 big onion, chopped
4 oz (100 g) brown lentils
turmeric, ground cinnamon, paprika (the recipe calls for 1/2 - 1 tsp, I generally use more)
4 pints (2.3 litre) water
1 lb (450 g) ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or mixed (I sometimes omit the fresh tomatoes, or use less)
2 tsp tomato paste
4 oz (100 g) chick peas ( if dried and softened in water over-night, put them in with the water)
a few handfuls of vermicelli
3 tbs fresh, chopped coriander
3 tbs fresh, chopped parsley
1 tbs chopped celery (use the leaves, or if you use the stalks, put them in with the onions)
1 egg
salt & black pepper
Serve with lemon wedges to taste

  1. Soften the onion (and celery) in the oil on a low heat, add meat and brown.
  2. Add water, spices and tomato (if the lentils take long to cook, add them as well - some don't take longer than 30 or 40 minutes though, so it's better to add them later).
  3. Bring to the boil, lower the heat to a simmering and leave to cook for about one and a half hour (30 minutes if you make it vegetarian).
  4. Add vermicelli, stir and cook for another 10 minutes until the vermicelli is cooked.
  5. Whisk an egg and pop it into the soup and stir.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat. Add the herbs.
Serve with lemon on the side. Moroccans like to have their Hareera with shabbakiyah.