Harrira – Mama Sadia’s Way

Nov 7, 2010 by

A few years back, I worked with this a gorgeous, charming and extremely talented lady called ‘Kamar’. A mentor, big sister and partner in crime, there was never a dull moment when we were together. We egged each other on in all kinds of extravagances from fashion to food, regretted and then did it all over again.

In practicing her faith, Kamar used to observe Ramadan, a holy month in the Islamic faith where participants fast (abstinence from food and drink for a period of time) from dawn to dusk. This was without doubt, my favorite time of year. Kamar’s mother, Mama Sadia, would send all kinds of Moroccan treats with which Kamar would open her fast. Of course, being Moroccan, their hospitality extended way beyond their home and Mama Sadia would not just send food for Kamar but also for me and our third musketeer ‘Wagner’. There was couscous with lamb and fall vegetables, sticky and sweet curly pastries, sweet samosas stuffed with ground nuts and sesame seeds and my favorite ‘Harira’.

Typically, many Moroccan Muslims will break their fast with this light yet gratifying soup. It is zesty in taste and filled with all kind of goodies, such as, garbanzo beans, green lentils, parsley, cilantro and a few strands of broken spaghetti. Make this once and it will definitely make it to your monthly repeat dish list. This soup is like a curry, only lighter. Even though it is not traditionally eaten with rice, I feel rice is a great accompaniment to this dish.

This is my first Moroccan entry but keep a look out for more in the near future; this country is home to many culinary treasures. And of course, thank you Kamar and Mama Sadia for opening up my world and giving me access to some of the best food and hospitality I have ever experienced.


¼ cup of olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 finely chopped onion
3 grated carrots (chopped in blender)
2 celery sticks(chopped in blender)
1 can of blended tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
Salt to taste
8 cups of chicken broth
¼ cup of green lentils
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
¾ bunch of cilantro
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ teaspoon dried ground ginger powder
¼ cup of broken spaghetti
5-6 saffron strands
1 can of drained and washed chickpeas
1 lemon


1. Wash and soak the green lentils in a bowl
2. Saute the garlic and after 2 minutes, add the onions.
3. Add the cumin and pepper to toast them in the oil
4. As the onions become translucent and soft, add the carrots and celery
5. Saute for approx 6 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften, the ginger powder, saffron strands and salt to taste
6. Add the fresh chopped tomatoes and the canned tomatoes and cook until oil separates
7. Pour in the chicken stock and add the drained green lentils cover, and reduce to medium heat
8. After 15 minutes, add the spaghetti, parsley and cilantro and cook on medium for another 10 minutes
9. Add the garbanzo beans/ chickpeas and juice from 1 lemon and cook for a couple of more minutes
10. Check to make sure that your lentils are soft. Your soup is now ready.

Serving Suggestions

This soup can be eaten on it’s own though I personally love to eat it with a bowl of steamed white rice

Pearls of Wisdom

Before adding the ginger powder to the soup, mix it with a little water first to make a paste so that there aren’t lumps of it in the soup

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  1. This soup is so pretty. Love that you make it just for one. I usllauy find my self making a big pot of soup in those situations that we then have to eat for days.

    • Saira

      Hi Cinwi, no, the recipe would probably feed 6, not 1. When using lentils, its tricky to make a single serving portion


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