Pastry chef Rinat Tzadok’s Moroccan grandfather Moshe used to make hearty bowls of harira with lentils, egg noodles, bunches of fresh herbs, and chickpeas to break the Yom Kippur fast. That tradition is shared across Moroccan communities. “Moroccan Jews follow the custom of their neighbors, who eat harira… after the fast of Ramadan,” explains Gil Marks in “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.”
For Rinat and her family, “preparing harira soup is a whole ritual,” she explains, from soaking the chickpeas to peeling them by hand to cooking the soup for hours. It’s a perfect project for a cold winter day — no fasting required.
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh turmeric, minced, or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ras el hanout (spice blend)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry chili flakes
1 cup brown lentils, soaked for 6 hours
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped or grated
3 cups egg noodles
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
¼ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
¼ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the soaked chickpeas for 40 minutes, drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, garlic, and fresh turmeric, and saute until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the salt, ras el hanout, black pepper, and chili flakes, (and ground turmeric if not using fresh). Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute to bloom the spices. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, soaked lentils, and 5 cups of water. Mix well, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour until the soup thickens.
Use an immersion blender to puree half the soup. Add in the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. If you like, add a teaspoon of maple syrup to cut the acidity from the lemon juice.
Note: For a shortcut, you can use 15 ounces canned or frozen chickpeas.