How to cook Moroccan Harissa

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How to cook Moroccan Harissa

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This zesty harira recipe was taught to me by my mother-in-law, who was renowned among family and friends for her superb cooking. It yields a delicious, hearty soup which can be served as a light supper. It is particularly popular in Ramadan, when it is served to break the fast.

The recipe below will serve 6 to 8 people, and follows the pressure cooker method, which speeds up the cooking. To adapt cooking times for traditional simmering in a stockpot, read the Tips at the bottom of the page.


Step One

Soak chickpeas and split peas in separate bowls of cold water overnight. The next day, drain pulses well and set aside.


Step Two

Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water for 5 minutes. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add spices, coriander root, and saffron and its liquid. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add bones, tomato, carrot, stock and 2 cups (500ml) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 3 hours.


Step Three

Uncover, add chickpeas and cook for 15 minutes, then add split peas and lentils and cook for a further 25-30 minutes or until pulses are tender. Remove bones (any meat should fall off by this time). Stir in juice and most of the coriander leaves, reserving some to garnish. Season, then serve with reserved coriander and bread.


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