TAAVI’S TASTEBUDS: VIVA HARIRA!

I don’t know about you, but some of my best meals happen when the fridge begins to echo because there is next to nothing in it.  I somehow manage to put on my “can do” hat & make a dinner that pleasantly surprises us all.  Last night’s meal, Harira, was no exception.  The kids just loved it.

Hari What?  You’re probably asking. Harira is a famous Moroccan soup made in thousands of variations, but usually featuring lentils, garbanzo beans & tomato & a fragrant array of ginger, pepper, cinnamon & fresh herbs.

Vegan Harira

I found the recipe in Crescent Dragonwagon’s book Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread.  Because I wanted to halve the portion she offered & winged the math, mine came out on the thicker side.  I also omitted the traditional egg yolks & served it with a small portion of rice noodles.  If Morocco has a variation of vegan Italian spaghetti & meatballs, this would have to be it!

The quiet star ingredient of the meal is the saffron ,with its fabulous fiery threads worth their weight in gold.  For every pound of Saffron, the stigmas of 750 crocus must be plucked.  Despite the fact that the cupboards were nearly bare, making this meal made me feel rather elegant & decadent if I do say so myself.

It is supremely easy to make & fills the kitchen with the scent of something magical & exotic, no matter where you are. So tune your Pandora to a Moroccan jig & let’s get started!

VEGAN HARIRA (GF)

prep & cook time:  30 minutes.  serves 4. 

1 can chick peas (or 1/2 cup pre-soaked & drained chick peas)

1 & 1/4 quarts veggie stock

1 cup red lentils

1 small chopped onion

2 stalks chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsely

4 TBS coconut oil

dash olive oil

3/4 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp ground cinammon

14 oz or pureed tomatoe/1 lb of fresh tomato in food processor

small pinch of saffron threads

small pinch of ground ginger

black pepper & salt to taste

2 oz of fine rice noodles

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot, melt half the oil.  Add the chick peas & stock & bring to a boil, then lower to simmer, adding lentils.

Cook rice noodles according to package instructions, drain, set aside.

In a large skillet, melt remaining oil & saute onion for about three minutes, until soft.  Add the celery, tumeric & parsley, simmering for another three minutes.  Stir in the cinnamon. Turn heat to low & stir often for ten minutes.  Remove from heat & stir in the tomato puree, saffron & ginger.

When the lentils & chick peas are tender (about twenty minutes), stir in the tomato mixture.  Simmer partially covered for ten minutes.

Split noodles into four bowls & ladle Harira over them.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper & a dash of olive oil.

Repeat after Taavi:  YUMMY!

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