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Breakfast Harira

Six years ago, I boarded a plane and set off to spend my last spring break in Morocco.  A few months earlier I had met MarocBaba and decided that I needed to go back even if it was only for six days.  It wasn’t my first international trip but it was a little different.  We had only known each other three days and I was going to be staying with his family.  I was so excited to see him but very nervous about staying with his family.  What was appropriate?  How should I act?  What should I wear? Add on about 100 more questions to that list – if it weren’t for all the adrenaline of actually making the trip I’m sure I would have had a panic attack.

I remember vividly the first morning.  Flying low over Marrakech, waiting in an EXTREMELY long line for passport control and even more time waiting for my suitcase – all while my heart was pounding more than a million beats a minute.  The experience of entering the visitor’s hall to find MarocBaba standing there beaming is a once in the lifetime memory.    We rolled away in a taxi and pulled up to his house, where my heart started beating more – this time it was the panic attack starting up.  All went well, I settled in a bedroom and changed my clothes and then I was served this;

It’s the same soup from the top, and it was my first taste of “real” Moroccan food.  Not the tourist versions of famous Moroccan dishes we had been fed while on our tour.  MarocBaba simply calls it white harira, though I’m sure there’s another name for it.  I’ve got to be honest – I don’t like this.  I didn’t like it from the beginning and dumped a lot of sugar in hoping it might taste like Cream of Wheat (it didn’t).  BUT MarocBaba and our kids love it, so you should give it a chance.


  • 1 cup of fine semolina
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of milk


In a medium saucepan begin to heat water on medium-high heat.  Pour in the oil and slowly add the semolina and mix in using a whisk.  They key to this is a smooth texture so whisking while cooking is necessary.  Add the cumin, salt and pepper and continue to whisk.  Once the mixture starts to slowly bubble add half of the milk, turn down the heat to low and continue mixing.  The consistency of this is slightly thicker than a soup but should still be a liquid.  If it gets too tight, add more milk.  Cook on low for 1-2 minutes to blend flavors.

Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with cumin on top.  Dates are traditionally served on the side with a hot cup of mint tea.

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Michelle Sekouri

Thursday 11th of July 2013

Lol! It always reminded me of watered down grits! My husband is Morrocan as well.....I think he likes it too...but he doesn't like our American version...which is thicker with butter down here in the south....I've just discovered your site...and am having a wonderful time going through the recipes! We have only been married 4 years - and I've been teaching myself how to cook Moroccan with Cooking with Alia....glad to have another source as well! Thank you so much and be blessed! :-)


Friday 13th of May 2011

I make my white harira like it was served it to me on the blad during the winter when it was cold. I put a couple thin slices of ginger and a couple small dry cayenne peppers in the milk/water and cook it together with the seminola. Sounds like a strange combo but it is very warming. Doesn't taste bland like Cream of Wheat either.


Friday 13th of May 2011

that sounds really interesting Patti! I may give it a shot this weekend.


Thursday 12th of May 2011

Glad you enjoyed the read! I always find it so interesting the connections we remember and make with food.

Holly Warah

Thursday 12th of May 2011

Love the story that goes with this recipe. You were very brave!! But it was all worth it & it sounds like MarocBaba has an open-minded family. Thanks for sharing this!