Saturday 24 November 2012

Chick Pea Harira

From Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery, David Scott, Rider, 1981.

I had decided on a Middle Eastern style meal so wanted to start with a soup and chose this one which is apparently used to break the fast of Ramadan. Though there were several variations of harira I chose this one because I like chick peas.

I used a little over 100g of chick peas which, after having been soaked over night, were placed in a pan with half a chopped onion, a little olive oil, a couple of handfuls of chopped parsley (stalks and all), half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and about the same amount of turmeric. After a few minutes to bring out the flavours a little, a litre and a half of water was added. The mixture was brought to the boil then turned down to a simmer until the chick peas had cooked.

After seasoning the soup, about 50g of rice was added and the soup simmered again for another 15 minutes. Now a heaped tablespoon of flour was mixed with a little water and added to the soup. It was stirred until the soup was boiling again, then turned down to simmer for another 15 minutes. It was now a reasonably thick soup and it was tasted again for seasoning. It was taken off the heat and the juice of half a lemon added. It could have had a beaten egg added but I felt that it was all now quite satisfactorily thick.

While this was an acceptable soup it’s not one that I would make again. The flavours were rather subtle and a bit bland over all. I think it would have been improved if I had possibly added some garlic or chilli to give it a little more ‘bite’.

The book I used is an old one but I find it a valuable one for it has a rich selection of recipes from the Middle East together with little pieces of information on the types of different styles of cooking. It has no photographs at all, usually de rigueur in cookery books nowadays, though it does have occasional line illustrations. Oddly, I like this book more than many of the over produced volumes you find in the bookstores.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

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