Allegra McEvedy, guru of healthy fast-food, says you can’t beat soup,
writes Xanthe Clay
Serves 4 hungry fasters
Moroccan harira is a spicy, nutritious soup traditionally served at Ramadan. “The
three slow-burning carbohydrates – rice, chickpeas and lentils – make it really
sustaining, which you need when you’re fasting in the day,” says McEvedy.
Usually made with lamb, the vegetarian version is delicious. Middle Eastern
flatbread or toasted pitta bread would be the right accompaniment. Either way,
it is better when left for a few hours before eating, for the flavours to
-1 large tin chickpeas (400 g) drained and rinsed
-1 large red onion, chopped small
-1 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
-140 g brown lentils (sometimes called continental lentils), soaked in cold
water for an hour
-½ tsp ground cumin
-½ tsp turmeric
-2 tbsp harissa (available from most supermarkets and ethnic shops)
-60 g white basmati rice
-2 tbsp plain flour
-A large pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1½ tbsp lemon juice
-A generous handful of chopped parsley and coriander, or some chermoula
- Drain the chickpeas and put in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the chopped onion.
Cover with 1.5 l water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then tip in the
tomatoes and drained lentils along with the cumin, turmeric and harissa. Simmer
until the lentils are tender.
- Add the rice to the pot and continue cooking until it is done. Meanwhile put the
flour in a bowl and slowly add 4 tbsp cold water, whisking to a thin cream. Add
about 4 tbsp hot liquid from the pan and whisk again until well blended.
- Pour the hot floury mix into the soup along with the saffrony lemon juice. Stir
in thoroughly over a medium heat, but do not allow to boil. Season generously
(chickpeas, rice and lentils all need plenty of salt), adding more lemon juice
if necessary – it should have a really citrussy tang.
- Just before serving, stir in the chermoula or chopped herbs.
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012