Food

Healthy Ramadan Recipe Makeovers: Harira Soup

In this series, I will be sharing healthier alternatives to well-loved meals to share with your family and friends this Ramadan.


I love this soup and I have yet to meet someone who turned their nose up at it. Traditionally this is what Moroccans break their fast with. The meal goes on after that, but when served with a nice whole grain bread, it is more than enough as a complete meal. It is nourishing, easily digested, hydrating and has to be one of the most perfect of Ramadan foods, besides dates.

Recipe

  • 1/2 lb boneless lamb, cut into very fine bits
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 60 oz can Roma tomatoes, diced and peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro, diced
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, diced
  • A pinch of saffron, crushed
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 oz vermicelli noodles
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 strip of kombu, (seaweed)
  • Lemon to serve

Method

Heat a pot and add in the coconut oil. Add the onions, lamb and a pinch of salt and brown. Add in the spices and fry for 1 minute. Add in the chickpeas, red lentils, tomatoes, kombu, a pinch of salt and pour in 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and turn down to medium heat, cover and cook for 1 hour.

Add the vermicelli, cilantro, parsley, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. If you would like the soup to be thicker, add in more tomato paste.   Turn heat to low and allow to cook for 20 minutes before adding salt to taste.

Serve with lemon wedges and dates, and enjoy!




Advice on any fried foods

The trick to deep fried foods is not to fry them at all. Most people fry them in vegetable oil that is not meant to be fried and is already rancid when purchased anyway. The result-a plate of DNA altering grease balls, this will leave you feeling heavy and lethargic. Instead, brush the dough or pastry with melted butter or coconut oil and then bake. They will be crisp and healthy.

If you must deep fry, use only virgin, organic, unrefined coconut oil. If the oil smokes, it is too hot and rancid. Also, do no reuse oil and change the oil a few times if you are making large batches. The only exception is the “special dough” made for samosa. You can use spring roll wrappers using this method.


In the next instalment, we will be making fragrant brown rice. Until then!

Anisa Abeytia is a published author and poet. Her work is translated into over 12 languages and covers wide-ranging topics from science to art. After earning her B.A in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, Abeytia started her career working for one of the producers of the “Godfather Trilogy.” She later attended graduate school at Stanford University and holds a Master’s of Art and Science. Over the last four years she was active in advocating for the Syrian cause and most recently for refugee rights. She is the director of “Anywhere But Home,” a documentary following the journey of Syrian refugees to Norway. She is also the producer of “I Am My Homeland,” a film that documents the experience of Syrian-Americans and Syrian refugees in the U.S.

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