Thursday, 7 May 2009

Harira - traditional Moroccan soup

Food from friends, part 2:

Let me introduce you to one of my other friends- Hanna! I have known Hanna, or known about Hanna more like it, since forever. We grew up in the same town, went to the same school, and our little brothers were best friends... However, we never hit it off, not until high school. We're the best of friends now, she's truly an awesome friend! This is her favourite soup, a Moroccan soup, traditionally eaten by the Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 celery stick, chopped, can be left out
2 tsp cumin powder, or 1 tbsp cumin seeds, crushed in pestle and mortar. (You can never have too much cumin, according to Hanna)
3 cans chickpeas
1 generous pinch saffron (Saffron gives this soup an amazing flavour, but it can be left out, says Hanna)
400 g tomatoes, de-seeded and coarsely chopped (you can also use 1 can crushed tomatoes)
1 cube vegetable stock
½ bunch coriander/cilantro leaves, about 2 generous tbsp chopped
juice from ½ lemon
salt and pepper

1. Sauté the onions in a little bit of olive oil. Add garlic, cumin and celery and sauté for a few more minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and the juices from the chickpeas, saffron and the vegetable stock cube- stir till it is completely dissolved in the liquid. Pour in 2 ½ dl water and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Add chopped tomatoes, after one minute add in half of the coriander/cilantro, the lemon juice, Tabasco and season with salt and pepper. Stir for one minute, then remove from the heat.

3. Serve, sprinkle with the rest of the coriander/cilantro and drizzle with some olive oil.

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