One of my favorite Middle Eastern restaurants, Bedouin Tent in Beorum Hill, serves this kind of soup--a hearty, tomato based soup with lentils and chickpeas and a complex, savory but cinnamon-y flavor. As the weather's gotten colder, I've been in the mood to make soups and thought this was a good one to start the season.
I did some research and looked at a bunch of recipes on the web. I learned that in Morocco, this soup is eaten for Iftar, the nightly traditional meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan. It's thickened with tadouira--a mixture of tomato paste, flour and cilantro. There are many variations--some include chicken, some lamb. The kind I'd had at Bedouin Tent was veggie, so I knew they had to be out there. Finally I found a few versions which were mainly lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, spices and vermicelli. And who doesn't like some noodles in their soup? I settled on this recipe and followed it pretty exactly.
I am being completely honest with you all here: THIS WAS THE BEST SOUP EVER. Seriously guys. You will want to eat this soup ALL THE TIME. It's hearty and filling and noodle-y and tomato-y and lemony and cinnamon/spicy. One bite and you will be like, "Fall and winter: BRING IT ON."
- 1/2 cup green lentils
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup vermicelli
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- To make Harira: Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain. (I did this but still don't understand why it was necesssary.)
- Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and cinnamon; sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in tomatoes, and sauté 5 minutes more.
- Stir in broth, chickpeas, lentils, reserved tomato liquid, and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
- To make Tadouira: Whisk flour with 1 cup water in bowl. Whisk in cilantro, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Stir Tadouira and vermicelli into Harira, and cook 3 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Serve with lemon wedges.