I really admire middle eastern food. They are definitely not afraid of adding spice! Not spicy in the “oh my gosh my mouth is burning” kind of way, but rather mixing things such as coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and many other things to create depth of flavor. I remember trying my first middle eastern dish and the whole time I was trying to pin point a particular ingredient and I wasn’t able to because they work together so well, in a way that it creates a new flavor all together.
Since I love food from all around the world I wanted to share with you a recipe called Harira. It’s meant to be a light snack served during Ramadan. It’s a mix between a soup and a stew with chickpeas, eggplant, lentils, and angel hair pasta. It’s comforting and perfect for a rainy day.
When I first read about this dish I was unsure about a couple of things. There were parts of this recipe that I had never tried before.
The first thing is angel hair pasta in a soup. Maybe I’m the only one who’s never had it in a soup but I normally eat this pasta with sauce, so upon making it I had a few things on my mind. I would ask myself, do I eat this with a spoon or a fork? In case you’re wondering the same thing, I experimented with both and found out that both work, but I prefer a spoon!
The next thing I was unsure about was putting cinnamon in my soup. I’m just going to tell you right now, never have I ever put cinnamon in a soup. I bring out the cinnamon for breakfast and dessert only. I like it over my oats and in a carrot cake but something savory? Well that was something I’d never heard of. I was hesitant at first but the first bite was incredible. I can’t explain how much it actually works. Before I knew it my bowl was empty and I went back up for seconds.
I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try this recipe. All of the components together may seem strange and unfamiliar but fear not, this thing is delicious and pure comfort food. Prepare yourself for goodness.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper (optional)
- 6 cup vegetable broth (plus more if needed)
- 1 eggplant peeled and chopped
- ½ cup green lentils
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (24 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ lemon juiced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 4 ounces angel hair pasta
- Place the oil in a large pot and heat over medium high, add the onion, garlic, ginger, salt, and red pepper flake. Sautee until the onion appears translucent.
- Add four cups of the broth, eggplant, green lentils, paprika, turmeric and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and place the lid over the top and simmer until the lentils are mostly cooked, about 20 minutes. After this allotted time your eggplant should be disintegrated.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, cilantro, lemon juice, and the last two cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the angel hair pasta and stir to submerge and to prevent them from sticking together and cook according to the directions on the box somewhere around 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.