Moroccan chickpea soup with sautéed garlic prawns

Moroccan chickpea soup with sautéed garlic prawns

William Meppem

Known as ‘harira’, this soup is a Moroccan favourite, particularly popular during Ramadan, when it is served after a day of fasting. Harira is traditionally eaten with dates and a wedge of lemon or lime. It is often made with lamb in a hearty meat stock. This is a lighter vegetarian version, all lemony and peppery. Garnish, if you like, with grilled seafood – delicate fillets of red mullet or garlicky prawns work well.



Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g brown lentils
100g chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 1/2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground saffron, lightly roasted and crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
60ml sherry
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon celery leaves, chopped

Garlic prawns

Quantity Ingredient
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
40ml olive oil
12 king prawns, tails and heads removed


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently sweat the onion and garlic until they soften. Add the lentils and soaked chickpeas and 2 litres of the stock.
  2. Simmer for an hour, or until the lentils and chickpeas are soft and beginning to break down. Use a hand-held electric beater on low speed to crush the pulses, but make sure not to turn them into a smooth purée. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger and saffron. Adjust the consistency with additional stock. Bring the liquid to the boil, season with salt and pepper and finish off with the sherry, lemon juice and zest, parsley, coriander and celery.
  3. Mix the chilli and garlic to a paste and rub it into the prawns. Allow them to sit for half an hour before cooking.
  4. Heat a grill, pan or wok, add the oil and, when it is smoking hot, add the prawns. Cook them on a high heat for 2 minutes. Serve on top of the soup.
Middle East
Middle Eastern
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