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Harira Wahrani, Harira Oranaise | Fragant Traditional Algerian Soup from Oran

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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'Polar vortex' snowstorms plunging North America into record-breaking coldes temperatures of the 21st century. The dangerously  -37°C cold polar air making it hazardous for people to venture outside and keeping many schools and businesses closed. I'd definitely say it's time to stay home and warm up with a hot soup or stew.

Here's one that will do the trick ....

Harira (also spelled H'rira الحريرة ) is traditional soup that is prepared by Muslims in North Africa during Ramadan to break the fast with. And in my opinion is one the easiest and nutritious meal you could have set in front of you on these freezing cold days. Harira is soup that both Algerians and Moroccans prepare, but with some slightly variations. Here in Algeria from Oran, Mascara, Sidi Bel Abbess to Tlemcen, Harira is much simpler then the Moroccan version. It's a smooth and silky soup that is hearty and quite filling that isn't weighed down by the over use of spiced. 

Nowhere near as extreme as the current weather in North America,
 but do you remember that rare snow that spread all over the coastal cities of central Algeria back in 2012? 

Recipes for Harira slightly city to city, but the base of tomatoes and meat staying true to a real Algerian Harira. The recipe I'm posting today is one of the region of Oran. The Oran cuisine has a rich and extensive culinary history and is one of Algeria's prized cities. It's one of my favourite soups, as it has the addition of the superfood frik (also called freekah) which lends a slightly smoky and Earthy flavour to the soup. Harira is traditonally prepared with a slightly fermented flour slurry that complements the smokiness of the frik beautifully. PLEASE make this soup soon, you won't be dissappointed! 

Another time I'll share the different regional versions of Harira.

fragant traditional algerian soup (FROM ORAN )


YIELD: 6-8 servings
PREP TIME: overnight + 1 hr
COOK TIME: 1hr 30 mins

  • wooden spoon, heavy bottom soup pot, immersion blender, knife, vegetable peeler


  • about 250g -  ½ lb of  lamb shoulder, cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 handful of celery leaves OR 2 ribs of celery  
  • 1 large yellow potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large courgette/zuchinni, cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 100g - ½ cup Puy or brown lentils
  • ½ tsp dersa (hot pepper sauce) or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • ½ tsp Ras el hanout spice
  • ½ tsp ground caraway 
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp powdered saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup chopped parsely
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 100g - about ½ cup frik (green wheat)
  • salt, or to taste
  • oil, to taste
  • water
  • 2 TBS flour
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • ½ cup of water
  • cilantro or celery leaves
  • lemon slices
PREPARE the tabouria (thickener) by mixing the flour, lemon and water in a small bowl. Allow to frement on the countertop while your soup cooks. This lends an extra deoth to the soup and complements the smokiness of the frik well.

CUT your vegetables and meat into managable sizes. There's really no need to waset any time cutting them into prefect uniform cubes as you'll purée the soup later.

HEAT the oil in a heavy bottomed 6 liter soup pot. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally until well browned, about 5 minutes.

NOW add in the vegetables, tomato paste, spices, lentils and herbs. Stir to combine, then add enough water to fill the pot - about 2 - 3liters, depending on the size of your pot.

BRING the soup up to a boil, then reduce the fire to a low simmer. Cover the soup partially with a lid and let simmer until the meat is tender about one hour. 

MEANWHILE, place the frik in a large bowl and add enough water to cover. Allow the frik to swell.

ONCE the soup is cooked, remove the bay leaf and the meat. Transfer the meat to a plate to cool. You can shred the meat into the soup or puree it along with the rest of the ingredients. When my kids were smaller, I'd puree the meat but just just shred it into the soup. It's up to you! 

WITH an immersion blender, purée the soup. Harira is usually very smooth and silky. Optionally if you like, leave the soup with some chunky bits. Place the meat back into to the puréed pot of soup. Add the fik with the water into the pot. Let it simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes on a very low fire. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Be sure to remember to stir the pot, so the frik doesn't stick to the bottom of your pot. If you find your soup thick enough for your taste, you may not need the corn starch. 
PREPARE in a small bowl, mix the flour, lemon juice and 1½ cup of water.. Mix well making sure that there are no doughy lumps. Cover and let it sit at room temperature.
AFTER the soup has simmered, stirring, pour the Tabouria (the flour slurry). Keep stirring the soup until it is thickened. If you find it is too thick for your liking, simply add more water. 

Ladle into soups and serve with some homemadeAlgerian breadboureks and lemon wedges, but you can optionally serve it with a crusty French baguette or thick homestyle bread like this one.

Quick Cooking
You can alternatively cook this soup in a pressure cooker as many Algerian cooks do. The process is basically the same as above, but the cooking time will be reduced to about 20 minutes.
Slow Cooking
Sweet breads like this general stay fresh for only a day. If you have extra you didn't consume, place in a plastic bag then freeze for use later. To serve, thaw out on the countertop for about 1-2 hours. 

Choice of Meat
A real Orani Harira uses lamb, but you're welcome to use beef or chicken instead of lamb. Or alternatively, make it vegetarian by omitting the meat altogether.

    CATEGORIES: ALGERIAN, MEDITERRANEAN, soup, ramadan, winter


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    1. Salam neighbour. I am from MOrocco, but british we make Harira too and my family from Oujda, and great grandparents from fathers side from Algeria (Rhouat). we make harira too similar without the veg and we use that thin pasta, chick peas and dried broad beans.
      have it for iftar to break the fast Alhamdulillah

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