I for one love to go food shopping and when I hear about certain spices I go on a hunt until I find it. I’ve heard about Harissa on the food network and various other cooking shows and when I came across a Harissa spice blend in the supermarket I just had to buy it.
You may be asking yourself, “what is Harissa?”. I know I did and here’s what I learned, Harissa is typically a spicy paste and its a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. The recipe varies between countries and regions but the base is usually made up of a blend of hot chili peppers, garlic and spices. It is spicy and traditionally its used on kebabs, stews, soups, vegetables, couscous, chickpeas and cooked meats like lamb, beef or chicken. It can also be used as a replacement for condiments like spicy mustard, or as a marinade or blended into dips like hummus or even yogurt.
The Harissa spice blend I bought is in powder form and it contains hot chili peppers , garlic, paprika, salt , tomato powder and sumac. Sumac is a plant that grows in subtropical and temperate regions and when its dried and crushed you can use it in most dishes to brighten them up because its a little lemony, but that’s another lesson for another Wensday Whisk Up :-), now back to Harissa… When I opened up my little Harissa spice tin, I immediately smelled the paprika, not just regular paprika but smoked paprika, it gives the spice blend a kind of earthy smell (in a good way) the next smell to hit me was the chilies, I can already tell without trying it that it was going to be spicy, and anyone who knows me knows that I love the hot stuff lol. Of course I tasted it also and it is pretty spicy but not like singe your nose hairs spicy, certainly not like biting into a habañero pepper spicy, its a savory kind of spice. You get the heat right away but it doesn’t linger, it sort of goes away and then you taste the garlic and the smoked paprika, its quite pleasant actually.
I haven’t used the Harissa yet, because I just bought it and I figured we’d all go on this Harissa journey together. I’m already excited about all the possibilities in which I can use it, I’m definitely going to turn it into a paste and use it as a marinade, hmmmm what else am I going to do with it?? I dunno yet but I cant wait to start experimenting, check back on the next Wensday Whisk Up to see how I put the Harissa to good use 🙂
Happy Spice Hunting !!
Angie 🙂Share This: