Moroccan “Oatmeal” Hrbil

I celebrated my first Eid in 2005 with my in-laws in Morocco.  The experience was truly a wonderful thing, because it gave me a lot of context for the holiday.  One of my very favorite aspects was eating this delicious meal while waiting for the king to slaughter the “national” sheep.  It is so simple but was one of the very memorable aspects of this holiday that I have carried with me!  This does have an Arabic name – I will update as soon as I remember it! This specific recipe used wheat grains however you also can use barley grains.  In Darija the recipe with barley is called hssoua belboula.  (Thanks Christine for pointing these changes out for me!)

                                                          Wheat grains soaking

1 cup of dry wheat grains (wheat berries)
1/2 c whole milk
1 tbsp olive oil

Soak the wheat in water overnight.  The longer you soak this the faster it will cook.  When ready to cook add the olive oil to a pressure cooker and drain water from the wheat.  Add the wheat and stir to coat with olive oil.  Add enough water to fill pressure cooker about 1/2 full.    Cover and cook on medium temperature for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.  You will need to check the water level of
this often.  The goal is to cook out all the water so that the wheat plumps to it’s maximum.  You can test the water level by holding the pressure cooker off the heat and swirling around.  When you feel most the water has been cooked out, release the steam and remove the cover.  

If there is some water left, continue to cook on low – medium heat until it has been mostly removed.  Next stir in the milk, until the consistency is a little more liquid than porridge.  Fill a bowl or large rimmed plate with the grains.  In the middle create a small well and add olive oil* and honey.  

                                                              Finished “oatmeal”

**A very high quality olive oil is best for this.  You can also use butter if you prefer. 


  1. Krista – after a little more input – belboula is the name of this when made with barley. I've discovered that regionally there are differences in the grain used to make this.

  2. My husband called it Harbil (but it could be the regional word). I think belboula is a bit thinner made with semolina – this is pretty chunky with the cooked wheat – much plumper than an oatmeal or cream of wheat.

  3. I think it could be "belboula". I think the Moroccans use this name for a couple other "soups" (or what North Americans typically term "cereals")with slightly different textures (e.g. one that is basically just like our Cream of Wheat). I love them, too!

  4. I haven't heard of or tried this yet- and you know since it's in the pressure cooker I'm not going to anytime soon either! :)-

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