Harira Soup with Chicken

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I was fortunate to try this delicious Harira soup in Morocco on a couple occasions.  It is thick and hearty, one-dish meal in a bowl that is traditionally eaten during Ramadan to break the fast.  Traditionally prepared with lamb,  I was hoping to find a version vegetarian or with chicken, of which there were many to choose from.  At last, I ran across  Harira soup with chicken,  which I chose because of the author’s comments:

  1. It was his first experience of Harira soup in Fes (it was actually my second but my first was en route to Fes),
  2. Was eaten in the souk in Fes (yes, my second bowl was in the souk in Fes), and
  3. it was delicious (agreed!).

So let’s get started.  A traditional soup  begins with celery, carrots, onions and garlic.

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The magical ingredient today is saffron.  The tiny filaments are rare and used sparingly; they are the stigmas of a specific crocus flower and Morocco is the third largest producer of it in the world.  A few threads dropped in a warm liquid, in this case water, add colour and a special taste to the soup.  I love watching the infusion process and the colour change of the water.

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Saffron dry, next with boiling water added, and infused a few minutes later.

I grate ginger by freezing it first and using this terrific rasp grater from Lee Valley Tools.

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The rest of the ingredients are ready to go.  One can of chickpeas, one cup of soaked green lentils, a tin of tomatoes, chicken stock, saffron/liquid, cumin, and grated ginger.

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Sauté the diced vegetables first.

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Add the tomatoes, stock, chickpeas, lentils and spices.  Break up the tomatoes with the back of the spoon.

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After 20 minutes, add diced cooked chicken and a quarter cup of basmati rice and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

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Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and finally add some chopped coriander.  Such a gorgeous soup, I had to show you the photo again.  As delicious as it looks.

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Harira soup with chicken

pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup boiling water
4 chicken breasts, diced
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp. grated  ginger
1 798 ml (27 oz.) tin of tomatoes
1  cup lentils (i soaked them for about 30 minutes in warm water to soften)
1 596 ml (19 oz.) can chickpeas
¼ cup long grain rice (I use basmati rice)
6 cups chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Infuse the saffron in the boiling water for about 2–3 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil, and in 2 batches seal the diced chicken then remove for later.
  3. Add the garlic, celery. carrot and onion, and lightly brown. Next, add the ginger, tomatoes, saffron, cumin, lentils, chickpeas and chicken stock and bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Just before you serve add the coriander.

Thumbs up from friends and family.  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.



  1. yummy!! This looks so delicious

    1. Thanks for writing. Wait until you try it!

  2. Frances harris · · Reply

    Tasted this soup in a mid eastern restaurant and loved it.
    So happy to have the recipe. Must try it!

    1. It’s not a difficult recipe. The main thing is to amass all the ingredients first.

  3. Marcia Cantor · · Reply

    Can’t wait to get home and try it. So yummy looking.

    1. It’s yummy looking and yummy tasting.

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