Sukkah Dining: Moroccan Fava Bean Soup with Harissa
Shared by Ron and Leetal Arazi
Recipe Roots: Mogador, Morocco > Be’er Sheva, Israel > New York City
While so many Jewish holidays carry with them specific dishes or foods, Sukkot’s culinary traditions are typically more focused on where a meal is eaten (in a sukkah or hut) than what dishes are on the table. Still, families and communities have developed their own customs.
For Ron Arazi, who grew up in Israel as the son of a Moroccan mother and Lebanese father, Sukkot was always defined by a simple fava bean soup prepared by his mother’s mother in her home in Be’er Sheva. It “was the only thing my grandparents made every year,” Ron recalls. Their sukkah “was a sort of open house. Friends, family and neighbors stopped by for this special soup with harissa.”
The soup, which is blended with garlic and lemon, is so thick that it’s eaten in his family with pita, instead of a spoon. Ron’s grandmother would make the dough for the pita and his grandfather would roll it out and bake it throughout the day so it was always fresh.
Ron still makes the recipe today. It fits with his broader mission to celebrate Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish cuisines through an artisanal food company called NY Shuk that he and his wife Leetal own in New York.
Fava Bean Soup with Harissa
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water
3 cups (14 ounces) dried split fava beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons harissa (we used NY Shuk's signature harissa)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and garlic, and cook until aromatic, 1 minute. Add in the water and fava beans, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the beans are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, add the harissa, canola oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
3. Transfer the beans and the cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt.
4. Divide between bowls and garnish with a spoon of the harissa mixture (from step 2) on each, then serve.