Saturday, 8 March 2014

Spicy Condiments

As promised in my last post, here are my favourite condiments for Moroccan food. If you are familiar with using both Harissa and Chermoula, then please skip over the next paragraphs to the recipes, if not read on........

Harissa; Found mainly in North African dishes; In Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco this spice paste is served on everything from bread to meat and fish. The recipe varies from country to country but the basics are garlic, salt, hot pepper, olive oil, coriander, cumin etc. Many recipes call for dried peppers and hot dried chillies but I prefer to use fresh ones and roast them.

Chermoula; Moroccan's use this marinade to flavour fish and meat. Often it is use to coat fish or chicken prior to making a tajine. Again, it is a wonderful blend of herbs and spices and will transform any ordinary dish into something special. This marinade can certainly work very well with vegetables or soy products too, so vegetarians like me don't miss out! You can add more chilli if you like it very hot, but this is fine for most people.

Harissa Paste

2 red capsicums (red peppers)
4 hot red chillies
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 bunch fresh coriander
1 tbls olive oil

This makes a small jar of paste. I like to make it on a regular basis so I only make a small amount at a time.
Brush the red peppers with olive oil and roast them in the oven 200c fan forced,  turning once, until they are soft. This will take around 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and immediately place on a board and cover with a plastic bowl, to steam them. This makes peeling them a whole lot easier. Peel and deseed.

While the peppers are roasting, chop garlic and add to a frypan with a little oil and gently saute. Add all the spices and stir with the garlic for a few minutes, if it gets too hot and smoky, add 1 tablespoon of water. Tip into a dish and allow to cool.

Take the peppers, chillies, garlic and spices, fresh coriander and put them into a blender. Pulse these until you are happy with the blend. I like mine to have a good texture, but to be well blended. Add 1 tablespoon of oil an put into a jar and refrigerate. Use it up within a month.


3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 red chilli deseeded and sliced
1 tsp saffron
2tbls chopped parsley
4 tbls chopped coriander
salt and pepper
juice 1/2 lemon
4 tbls olive oil

Blend all of the ingredients, except olive oil and lemon juice,  in a blender until well combined. Stir in the oil and lemon juice until you have a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. As a marinade apply to meat, fish, soy etc for at least 20 -30 minutes before using.

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