Mother Earth Living

The Health Benefits of Turmeric: Harira

By Cornelia Carlson
October/November 1994
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Serves 4

This spicy soup is enjoyed throughout the year in Morocco, but it is obligatory fare after a day of fasting during Ram­adan.

• 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or one 16-ounce can chickpeas
• 5–6 cups water
• 1/2 pound boneless lean lamb cubes
• 1 or more lamb bones (optional)
• 4 chicken legs or thighs
• 2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
• 1 cup chopped onions
• 1/2 cup chopped celery tops
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh or rehydrated turmeric, or 1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 cup orzo noodles, or 1/2 cup rice
• 1–2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/8–1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1–2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 egg

1. Rinse and pick over dried chickpeas. Soak overnight in a large quantity of water. The following day, pour off the soaking liquid and place the chickpeas in a large kettle or stockpot. (Or boil chickpeas in water for 2 minutes, then let them soak for 1 hour.) Add 6 cups of water, cover the pot, and simmer about 60 to 90 minutes, or until tender. If you’re using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them and put them in the pot with 5 cups of water.

2. Add the lamb, bones, chicken, vegetables, and spices. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. Add the noodles or rice and cook 15–20 minutes longer. Add the smaller amounts of lemon juice, sugar, and salt, then taste for seasoning and add more as needed. Whip the flour and 1/2 cup water together until any lumps are dispersed, and stir the mixture into the soup. Heat to thicken, stirring constantly. Beat the egg slightly and stir it in. Heat just until the egg strands are cooked and serve immediately.


Cornelia Carlson’s obsession with herbs and spices began in the mint-scented tangle of an abandoned herb garden behind her childhood home. In the decades since, she has planted extensive herb gardens in the Snow Belt, coastal California, and the southwestern desert. Currently living in Tucson, Arizona, Cornelia has a bachelor’s degree in food research and master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry. She’s now at work on a cookbook.

Click here for the original article,  The Health Benefits of Turmeric .








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