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Moroccan harira with saffron yoghurt

It's no wonder that this soup is a staple dish during Ramadan. Packed with vegetables, lentils, chicken and lamb, it's a wholesome and flavourful way to break a fast.

By Alice Storey
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 20 mins cooking plus soaking, draining
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • Print
It's easy to understand why harira is the traditional soup to break Ramadan; it's everything you need in one bowl to satisfy your hunger, especially when it's topped with a thick saffron yoghurt. Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas and drain the yoghurt.


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil or clarified butter
  • 250 gm boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 600gm), cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long green chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ cup each (firmly packed) coriander and flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each ground black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and paprika
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 400 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 100 gm (½ cup) dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight, drained
  • 80 gm dried small green lentils
  • 60 gm spaghettini, broken into 3cm pieces
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
  • To serve: coriander and mint (optional)
Saffron yoghurt
  • 500 gm Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ½ tsp saffron threads


  • 1
    For saffron yoghurt, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste, transfer to a sieve lined with muslin, place over a bowl and refrigerate overnight until thick (discard liquid).
  • 2
    Heat 40ml oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add lamb and chicken and brown all over (5-7 minutes). Set aside.
  • 3
    Blend onion, garlic, chilli and herbs in a small food processor to a paste. Heat remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion paste and sauté until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add celery and tomatoes, stir to combine, then add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly darker in colour (1-2 minutes). Add spices, stir until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add stock, canned tomatoes, lamb and chicken, reduce heat to low, then cover and cook until meat starts to become tender (60-80 minutes).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, cover chickpeas with plenty of cold water in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until tender (40-45 minutes), then drain.
  • 5
    Add lentils and chickpeas to soup and simmer until lentils are cooked through (50 minutes to 1 hour). Add spaghettini, simmer until tender (7-8 minutes), then add lemon juice, stir to combine and serve hot topped with coriander and mint, and saffron yoghurt.


Drink Suggestion: Rich, full-bodied white viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.