Place the celery, onions and tomatoes in a food processor together with the chopped stalks of the coriander and some of the chopped parsley. Heat the oil gently in a large pan and add the pureed vegetables along with all of the spices. Bring it to the boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the boiling water and cook for a further 20 to 25 minutes without a lid, until the soup has thickened slightly. Stir it occasionally.
Add the drained chickpeas and noodles and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Mix the flour with 2-3 tbsp water to make a paste, then whisk it into the soup until well blended. Beat the egg in a largish bowl. Add ladles of the soup, whisking all the time. After 4 or 5 ladles, pour that into the soup. (Doing it this way means the egg thickens the soup instead of being cooked by it and going stringy.) Stir in most of the remaining chopped fresh herbs, taking some to the table to sprinkle on top.
Turn the heat to its lowest setting and cook it for a further 5 minutes. Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with chopped dates and with lemon wedges served alongside to squeeze in.
This lovely soup makes a hearty and warming dinner with lively flavours and fresh ingredients. When I’m making it for Lanie I have to go very easy on the pepper, but if you like spicy then you will love this just as it was intended. The kids quite like Harira, Russell eats it with moderate enthusiasm and I am obsessed with it and could eat it every week. As far as the children are concerned, the dates are the clincher. It is an unusual thing to put dates in a soup but it definitely works – their sweet chewiness make the texture more interesting and give it an interesting depth of flavour.
High fibre meals like this one are great news for your micro-biome. Most of these ingredients are low on the glycemic index, meaning they have a slow, steady effect on your blood sugar.
This recipe contains both white and black pepper. They both come from the same plant but are processed differently and have different health benefits. White pepper contains minerals, such as manganese, copper, and magnesium, which are essential for healthy bone development and strength, particularly as people begin to age, and their bones gradually weaken. Black pepper is high in antioxidants, which may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals.
If like me you are cooking for someone who can’t tolerate much spice you could add just a pinch of each while cooking, and then put white and black pepper on the table so people can help themselves.
This recipe comes from a wonderful book called Together, which was written by survivors of the Grenfell fire. Highly recommended. This one was submitted by Jennifer Fatima Odonkor. I’ve adapted it a little bit but it’s much the same. Thank you Jennifer for putting this lovely recipe out there.