Moroccan Semolina Soup with Saffron and Anise

soup in bowl
Adél Békefi/Moment Open/Getty Images
    40 min

While Morocco's most famous soup, harira, has a long list of ingredients and takes a long time to make, this traditional recipe is the polar opposite. With just a few simple ingredients and a half hour's cooking time, you'll have a tasty, creamy, porridge like soup to offer for a satisfying breakfast or evening meal.

The recipe calls for coarse semolina grits () and the common Moroccan spices of saffron and anise. A little turmeric is optional, but it will add color and health benefits.

Because semolina soup will thicken considerably as it cools, it's best prepared just prior to serving. When reheating the thickened soup, simply add water to thin it, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve the soup with Moroccan bread and dates on the side. 

Also try Semolina Soup with Milk, Anise Seeds and Honey. For more ideas on how to cook with semolina, see Moroccan Recipes with Semolina.

What You'll Need

  • 2 liters of water
  • 1 cup (175 g) coarse semolina
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 or 6 saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • ----------------------------------------------
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise seed (or more to taste)

How to Make It

1. Measure the water into a large pot or small stockpot. Place over high heat and bring to boil.

2. While the water is boiling, gradually add the semolina, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump. Add the salt, pepper, and saffron.

3. Bring the soup back to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer gently. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the semolina swells and becomes tender and the soup has thickened to a consistency that you like.

4. Stir in the two tablespoons of butter and the ground anise. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Continue simmering gently for just a few minutes longer.

5. Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into serving bowls; serve warm.  


Dates are a traditional offering alongside the soup, as is bread.

Note that the semolina soup will thicken as it cools; allow for this when cooking in advance by simmering the soup to a thinner consistency than what you find ideal for serving.

When reheating semolina soup which has thickened, blend in a little water to thin the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

The soup can be garnished at the table with a tiny pat of butter and freshly ground pepper.

Some of the ground anise can be replaced with whole anise.