In Morocco, harira is traditionally eaten right after sundown during the holy month of Ramadhan. This ninth month of the Islamic calender is a time for prayers, spiritual reflection, and acts of generosity for Muslims. It is a time for fasting from dawn to sunset. Not a morsel of food or drop of drink passes the lips of observant Muslims.
The fast is a form of obedience and submission to God. As soon as the sun sets, everyone rushes to break the fast with a supplication to Allah asking for His forgiveness.
The prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessings be upon him) declared, ‘Three men whose supplication is never rejected (by Allah) are: when a fasting person breaks fast (in another narration, the fasting person until he breaks his fast),the just ruler and the one who is oppressed.’[Hadith from Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi - Hasan].
It is the custom of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) to break the fast first with dates and water and then a barley broth. Harira takes broth to an altogether different level. It is a wholesome meal prepared with nutritious and healthy ingredients giving a delicious aromatic flavour. It is served as a maincourse or with some rice or breads. There are so many variations to this recipe. You could as well use different combinations like lamb and lentils, chicken and lentils and so on. In this recipe, I have used Chicken and chick peas as prime ingredients.
Chicken pieces - about 12
Chick peas (soaked overnight in water) - 125 gms
Chicken stock - 750 ml
Onions(sliced) - 750 gms
Butter - 100 gms
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Paprika powder/chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Parsley(chopped) fresh or frozen - 1/2 cup
Saffron - 1/4 tsp or a pinch of orange food color
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1. Marinate the chicken pieces with chilli powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper for 30min.-1 hr.
2. Heat the butter in a large pan and saut the onions until golden brown.
3. Add the marinated chicken, saffron, chick peas(drain out the water in which it was soaked), chicken stock and mix well so that the chicken pieces are covered with the ingredients completely.
5. Just before serving, add the parsley and squeeze out few drops of lemon juice.
Tips to Serve :
1. You could serve this Harira with rice. Cook 250 gms of rice and layer it in a large serving plate. Arrange chicken pieces over it and pour over the Harira. Add parsley, squeeze few drops of lemon and serve as a complete and wholesome meal !
2. Serve with a bread, salad and fresh dates for dessert.
Since Harira is called a Ramadhan recipe, its my pleasure to share it with Taste of Pearl City, of Umm Mymoonah,who is running a wonderful event for Ramadhan. For more details about her event, click here.