Seasonal September Soup – Moroccan Harira
by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain and well being writer
Comfort foods need not be fattening, as we crave the serotonin high of carbohydrates at this time of the year.They are not really that necessary unless you have a high energy lifestyle in order to burn them off. Soups are great comfort foods packed with loads of goodness and it’s not necessary to eat great chunks of bread unless its lunch and you have a busy afternoon.
This tasty traditional Moroccan soup is packed with loads of seasonal goodies like onions, carrots and celery. As I have mentioned in previous posts, celery is mentioned in the medicine of the prophet(peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
I believe the foods we should be eating are provided for us by The Creator, at the right time of the year, in the location we live in. Combined with some Islamic medicine and knowledge of herbs and spices…….to keep you bright and shiny inshallah.
Soak your red lentils
Wash your vegetables and herbs
Soak you meat in salt water(meat is optional not necesary)then rinse and drain
Add 10ml of sunflower oil to pot and on medium heat add chopped onions and celery
Sauté celery and onions till soft and slightly golden
Add carrots and sauté, gently fry for another 5 minutes, stirring
Take veggies out and place in bowl
Lamb can be a bit fatty so its not necessary to add more oil as the meat will release it’s own oil into the meal.
Add meat to the same pot as the veggies were in and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes till brown
Turn meat over , you can see it’s brown on one side, golden brown not burnt, cook for another 5 minutes till both sides are sealed
Add veggies back to pot and stir
Add cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and salt and mix in
Add dry mint and basil, now here is where you may think “Oh it looks a bit dry, I need to add more oil,” resists that urge, trust me the meat has enough oil. stir.
Strain and add the red lentils, mix in
Add tomatoe puree and choped tomatoes
Add about a litre of water, give it a good stir and bring to the boil , then turn down low and cover for 30 minutes
Chop your herbs, basil ,mint, coriander and parsley
Add more water, you don’t want the lentils to stir to the bottom, add tinned chick pea and chopped fresh herbs and cover and cook for another 30 minutes
Traditionally Moroccans add vermecilli noodles but we dont, we add some okra and cooked for a further 5 minutes.
Serve with lemon juice and a drop of olive oil, curl up and keep warm…..aaaaah,. alhmdulilah , praise The Creator.