As some of you are already familiar with my ever lasting quest in experimenting with new cuisines and spices. Harissa has been on my radar for a little while now. The other day I was browsing through Chef Daniel Bould’s book ‘Braise’ where an African stew made with Merquez and spinach caught my eye. Luckily for me, having Gourmet Delights as my online gourmet foods store, I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble finding Harissa.
Harissa both a condiment and a seasoning, is an essential ingredient in North African cooking, particularly in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. It gets it hot, smoky essence from a mix of dried red chili peppers, cumin, coriander, garlic, caraway, and olive oil.
Never having the opportunity to taste harissa before, I eagerly awaited my shipment of Belazu Rose Harissa from Gourmet Delights. My first impression was the subtle aroma of this intensely vibrant red thick paste, followed with complex flavors of garlic, lemon, and spices. Rose petals are one of the spices added to give this condiment a subtle floral aroma. Frankly, it wasn’t what I expected, a typical chili sauce that is single dimensioned. It was an intensely aromatic and flavorful condiment which has jolts of chili that elevates the entire sauce. I couldn’t wait to try it in the African stew.
As this harissa has aromas of rose, I took it for a test drive with a #spicychat twist on classic hummus with carrots. And since I have been looking for any excuse to try home-made pita bread, I made a batch to serve with this sweet and spicy carrot hummus kissed with harissa.
Sweet & Spicy Carrot Hummus
Homemade hummus is a relatively painless dish to whip up and most times with bare ingredients from your pantry. Within minutes you have a healthy, vegetarian rich, and flavorful dip to add to your party repertoire. In this recipe the sweetness of the carrot compliments the harissa to add depth and dimension to an otherwise plain-tasting hummus. Each bite is tangy, sweet, warm, and gorgeously perfumed thanks to the spices.
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 pound carrots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsp harissa
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon good quality honey
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- Home made pita bread or chips to serve
- Bring broth, carrots, and garlic to boil and simmer over medium heat until the carrots are tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a food processor.
- Add the chickpeas and 1/2 cup of the carrot cooking liquid to the food processor and puree until smooth. Add the tahini, olive oil, cumin, fennel, harissa, honey, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and pulse until incorporated. Taste for seasonings.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with home-made pita bread or store bought chips.
Have you played with harissa? My next project is making Merquez stew with harissa. Until next time, happy eating!!
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Recipe adapted from Food & Wine magazine.