Harira (Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup)

Arielle Nir Mamiye

2¾ hours

6 servings

Harira soup in white bowl on floral tablecloth

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup | Photographer: Matan Choufan

In Moroccan families, hearty harira soup is served to break fasts — in Muslim homes during Ramadan and in Jewish ones after Yom Kippur. There are countless variations on the soup, whose name comes from the Persian and Arabic word for silk. This one is from culinary content creator Arielle Nir and her mother. It gets its silky touch from a slurry of flour and water that’s added along with fresh herbs during the last bit of cooking. 

Read more about their family in “A Moroccan Grandmother’s Love Is Rolled Into Her Couscous” on the Jewish Food Society’s archive. 


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

2 yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

6 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 cups grated tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 cup brown, green or red lentils

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2½ quarts chicken broth or water

½ cup all purpose flour

½ cup water

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

½ cup lemon juice

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes each. Transfer chicken to a plate. 
  2. Add onions and celery into the pot and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Add seared chicken back into the pot, along with the chickpeas and lentils. Add the turmeric, pepper, and salt. Stir well and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar. Cook on a gentle simmer for about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Mix the flour with the water in a cup until smooth. Add to soup and mix well. Add parsley and cilantro. Cook for another 30 minutes until the soup is a silky consistency.
  5. Add lemon juice into the soup and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.