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Harira in the Style of Oran

 
Hello from America, dear readers! I confess, I have been traveling like crazy these days, and while I want to write a long post about our Morocco adventures or give you all a great spring recipe with cardoons, I've been stuck on planes and trains and airports. (Speaking of travelogues, I want to do a site redesign over the summer when I have a bit of time off, and I want to start including some travel guides or write-ups with a Middle Eastern bent to them. Would that be of interest to you readers? Where to find good amlou in Morocco or fresh anchovies in Istanbul? Let me know in the comments.) In the meantime, today we're going to talk harira!

Harira is the traditional soup served in North Africa to break the fast during Ramadan. It is also just a stand-by soup, a delicious, reliable, and cheap option for dining in Morocco and Algeria. Traditionally, harira is a tomato-based soup, with a little bit of meat and some onions, legumes, and herbs. Harira is a soup that is very much about the broth, richly flavored from the bones used to make the soup.
 
I'd read on several Algerian cooking blogs (great resources for my culinary research, not to mention linguistic FrArabic oddities), about the harira from Oran. Oran (wahran, in the Arabic spelling), Algeria's second largest city, is on the coast close to Morocco. It was home to Camus and often pops up in American tales about WWII, as a base of the North African front.

Anyway, harira in the style of Oran is unique for its golden color, imparted by luxurious saffron. The sunny hue also comes from the vegetables used (usually carrots, sometimes pumpkin) as well as tomato paste. You see the Moroccan influence in the spices of the soup, warm with ginger, cumin, and paprika.
 

In researching the harira, I found several recipes that called for thickening the harira soup with levain (bread starter), a very old technique for thickening a soup. Other recipes called for thickening the soup with dchicha, a generic term for grits, like wheat, barley or freekah grits. Several versions called for a bit of lentils to thicken the soup, which I liked the best. The red lentils also preserve the color of the soup.

This soup is made the way most hariras are made, cooking the vegetable-broth mixture and pureeing it, then adding back in the chickpeas, herbs, and meat. This version is vegetarian (in all honesty, most harira has so little meat it's practically vegetarian anyway). The soup is brothy, cheerful in color, and you always brighten it at the end with some good doses of lemon juice.

About harira spoons: I got these harira spoons from the kindest old man in the souq in Marrakech. Harira spoons are carved by hand from a single piece of lemon tree wood. When the lemon tree branches become old and stop producing fruit, they are trimmed and used for spoons and small spice servers. They cost about 50 cents a piece in the souq.

Harira in the Style of Oran (Harira Wahrani)
You can play around with different orange-colored vegetables here, try substituting squash for the carrots and turnips. I originally thought about including a yellow bell pepper (pictured above) but changed my mind at the last minute, though I imagine its sweetness would go nicely with the ginger.

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 medium-sized carrots, chopped
2 small turnips, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons red lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ras al hanout spice mix (if available)
salt, black pepper
saffron, if available
1 bouquet of cilantro
a few pieces of parsley
6 cups rich chicken or beef broth, plus more for thinning the soup
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 lemons

1. Heat some olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, translucent, and starting to caramelize in places. Add in the garlic and ginger and let cook a few minutes, until fragrant. Add in the tomato paste and let toast for a minute. Stir in the lentils, carrots, and turnips and stir everything around the coat. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt, the cumin, paprika, ras al hanout, a few cracks of black pepper, and a few threads of saffron, crumbled. Stir everything around to coat and let cook a few minutes, until the spice are fragrant.
2. Add in the broth. The liquid should just cover the vegetables. If it doesn't, add water until you have enough liquid. Cover the pot and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop your bouquet of cilantro and the parsley. Set aside several pinches of cilantro to use as garnish. Juice two of the lemons. Chop the 3rd lemon into wedges and set aside to serve with the soup.
4. Puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, don't forget to let the soup cool before blending. The soup should be brothy and not too thick (it's soup, not potage or puree). Adjust the thickness of the soup with any reserved broth or water.
5. Return the soup pot to the heat and add the cilantro/parsley, the chickpeas, and another large pinch of salt. Let the soup simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir to combine and taste for seasoning.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cilantro and, if available, a few crushed saffron threads. Serve with the lemon wedges and good bread.
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Adam Road Food Centre


Back to the hawker centre for dinner Hong Kong Macau Tour, and one I’d never been to before. Adam Road has a wide selection of classic hawker dishes. We started with some excellent sambal stingray, and sambal pipis Loop HK, dabbled with some hokkien mee, satay, and a little black carrot cake (not actually made from white carrots, but with radish and sweet soy).

I may also have downed a few of bottles of frosty cold Tiger beer with the help of Rebecca. Singapore is so far the only place where I will reach for a beer before anything else. The humidity in Singapore can feel like walking around in a warm bath sometimes red wine, and who doesn’t like drinking beer in the bath? Am i right? Anyone…

Grilled Lime-Curry-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Fresh Melon-Cucumber Chutney


Melons and cucumbers have a real affinity—they're related, after all. Here, they come together in a cool, uncooked chutney strollers, which cuts the robust richness of thinly sliced hanger steak.
Ingredients
For chutney:

2 cups chopped firm-ripe honeydew melon (10 ounces)
1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalape?o including seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For steak:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 pounds (1-inch-thick) hanger steak or chuck blade steaks

Preparation

Make chutney:
Stir together honeydew, cucumber, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalape?o, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with spices and let chutney stand while grilling steak hosting service.

Grill steak:
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .

Stir together lime juice, oil, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Coat steak with curry mixture.

Oil grill rack, then grill steak, covered, turning once, 9 minutes total for medium-rare. Let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes Panama Foundation, then slice thinly across the grain. Serve steak with chutney.

Serve with:
basmati or jasmine rice

A dream of warm

Time dragged to the season's clothes, the warmth of the sun on the windowsill. The branches were swaying in the wind with shadows, mottled memory, in this quiet moment, with a tea curl rising, dust and mind become gentle, like a simple flower, scattered with faint fragrance, in the sun in the elegant bloom, this thesis sunny time. The beautiful and cool, in the heart of the harbour, sailing in the writing ink in mind silently vacuum tube, time enron.

Yellow paper with light pen light written annual poems. The word lines in affection, glabella lips smile blooming into the four seasons, picked up every time looking back, every smile, gently into each season blossom, regardless of wind and rain, cold, in ordinary days, the hearts of the branches is always green yellow, thin broken pieces of warm open flowers, a wisp of fragrance, around in my. If hold warm hands, let the dream place, is the most beautiful time,

Thoughts of the vine, cling to the past gone with the wind into the heart empty. Open the window to my heart, shake all over the sky of stars, into earthly bags, carrying a light breeze, gently fragrance, do an elegant and ordinary woman, Ann and mind corner, warm days, in a warm heart, lingering thoughts, and keep this Shi Qing huan. The stars are dense, into the glass state of mind, keep long hair fluttering, a road and song and line. Every heart wrapped, in ink years let elegant act static heart planting flowers and grass, watch the sun, Enron in the warmth of congee warm tea.

Now over the spring green, summer lush, quiet beauty of autumn to winter, the bleak. Downtown after a quiet, you can experience in the cold warm warmth, only warm to let everything becomes soft and moved. Grateful Fanghua moment in life, let the years there is a fragrance of precipitation, despite the time old face, to hide the light, not to change or pure throbbing heart. A cord through the heart of emotion , relieved of all fetters, all will become clear sky, let the life become thick, in the life of the deep place, still bloom day, Mei Ying Ying smile, warm.

I'm the only thin pen not gorgeous flowery poem, only the light back. As a snowflake falling posture, and this fireworks fleeting. The heart is also clear, I only keep a ray of love, with the window sunshine, write down the light text, in communion with the snow day, listening to gurgling miss in the lonely time. Through the window of heart gentle sunlight irradiation, with graceful heart, split a tree Samuume in full bloom, let the dream time is still the Jian Xia Mo green, flowers.

Over time this shallow, at the fingertips of melted snowflakes into the cool, gentle, despite years of buckle window, memory is always warm. A cup of tea, a cup of wine, all the thoughts, let touched take root in the heart, bloom a beautiful flower of life, an warm skyline.

Let thousand wisp emotions into a dream world where in the warm, lightly, with words in love, a world of fireworks fleeting tenderness Amethyst earrings.

淡然之,收心自然


翻看著自己平時寫那些小散文,才發現自己是一個重感情、多愁善感、任性、固執、死鑽牛角尖的人。在工作上有過爭強好勝,卻換來的只是種種不如意;在為人處事上低調謙遜有禮,卻不能在殘酷的競爭環境裏脫穎而出;在感情上追求完美,一旦愛上,便就是一輩子!

看風起雲卷,花開花落。如今的我喜歡那種靜靜的、淡淡的感覺,如一朵花兒悄悄地綻放,不管是否有人注目,是否有人贊美,花兒依然會默默地開放,因為她明白自己來此一世的目的,是為扮靚這個世界,不是為炫耀自身的美麗,不是為贏得人們的喝彩,只為靜靜地、綻一縷芬芳於世,讓自己的精彩,為這個世界添一份美麗。所以,花兒能平靜地面對人們的欣喜或是冷漠,我就喜歡這份平靜,它是一種境界,是一份淡然,淡然的美麗……。

時鐘滴答滴答向前永無休止,它只會催人易老,給人們留下了滄桑痕跡。看淡了,一切只不過是過眼雲煙,至於那些抱怨、憎恨自然變得淡然了。我只想淡淡地看著世界,仿若置身於世外,靜靜地看著身邊的一切,那些與我無關的生活瑣事,又何苦悲憫世人?所以,只有學會淡,才可以從淡中找到然的樣子,心才會更加自然。

淡然如我,平平淡淡,順其自然,擁一顆淡淡之心,過平靜如水的生活……

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