Mediterranean food has made its way into a lot of kitchens around the world. Thanks to readily available spices, herbs, and recipes available, now anyone can try their hand at this cuisine. Harissa is one of the most popular Middle Eastern spice mix that many people are using to add a deep flavour and aroma to their cooking.
What Is Harissa?
The harissa spice mix is traditionally a paste that is used as a marinade, in soups, rice dishes, and stews. It is made by blending chillies, garlic, olive oil, caraway, and coriander. But really, there is no set recipe for it. Some people add cumin, lime, and/or herbs like mint. It’s more a matter of one’s taste.
Paste and Powder
In Morocco, harissa is used in tagines, couscous, soups, and as a spread. It is in the form of a paste, but there is also a dry version available. The powdered version uses the same ingredients but in the dry form.
So, if you have dried red chillies, garlic powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds, just grind them in a food processor with some salt and you are good to go. Using the powder can be tricky as it may get burned when you are grilling or roasting. So, mix it with a little oil to avoid burning.
Different Ways of Using Harissa
This spicy, garlicy spice paste from North Africa can be used in a variety of ways. It adds a whole new dimension to the plate. Here are some of the ways you can use the harissa spice mix.
- As A Marinade – This is one of the traditional uses of the paste. You can marinade cuts like lamb legs, chicken legs, or even crown roast of pork.
- As A Dip – You can whisk it in with yogurt to make a hot and cold dip that goes well with lamb chops.
- Dressing For Salads – Make a spicy, fiery salad dressing by mixing this paste with some lime juice.
- In Your Burger – Forget the ketchup for once and add life to your burger by using harissa paste instead. If it is too spicy for you, mix it with a little mayo to mellow it down. This will have your burger tasting like it’s straight out of a Mediterranean food magazine.
- In An Omelette – Add zing to your breakfast by mixing harissa paste in your eggs before you make the omelette. You will never eat a regular omelette after that.
- Tangy Hummus – Store-bought or homemade, harissa will add life to your hummus.
- Stew And Soups – Let that stew or soup come to life with this tangy, spicy paste. Its bright red colour will not only make it attractive but will add tons of flavour and depth to the stew or soup.
Available in dry and wet form, harissa is a versatile spice mix that can add complexity of flavour to any dish. From burgers to meats and even salads, it will enhance the flavour and have you reaching for seconds.