Friday, March 11, 2011

Harissa Chicken , Almond Cous Cous

Lately I have been on a curry and spice binge and have eaten something spicy or hot at almost every meal. I am not entirely sure why, possibly since my Masala Dosa visit, yearning for that mouth full of flavours.

Harissa paste fits the description of both spicy and hot. Originally from Tunisia, it is a chilli sauce eaten in North Africa comprising mainly of chilli, garlic, cumin and olive oil. This paste is eaten with almost every meal as an appetizer and can be used to flavour meats and fish, cous cous, soups, sandwiches and flat breads.

The heat can be adjusted by adding less paste or watering it down with olive oil. I have tried many recipes but this one is my favorite.

This recipe is wheat and dairy free.

Harissa Paste
Makes 200ml

10ml Cumin Seeds
5ml Cardamom Seeds (crush and only use the inner seeds)
5ml Caraway Seeds
5ml Coriander Seeds
5 Green Chillies, with the seeds
5 Red Chillies, with the seeds
80ml Tomato Paste
4 large garlic cloves
5ml salt
30ml Olive Oil

Grind the seeds in a Mortar and Pestle until fine.
Gently toast the spices for 1 minute until they release an aroma.
Place everything into a dish , using a hand blender, blend to a smooth paste.
This will last for 2 weeks refrigerated topped with olive oil or may be frozen.

Harissa Chicken and Almond Cous Cous
Serves 3

450g Chicken ( I used skinless deboned thigh but you may use anything from whole to breast)
50ml Harissa paste
salt and pepper
1 cup cous cous
1 cup vegetable stock ( I used Ina Parman)
40g toasted almonds
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
40ml extra virgin olive oil
5ml ground cumin
fresh mint, basil , chives and thyme (add to your liking)
Bulgarian yoghurt

Marinade the chicken in the paste for 30 minutes.
Heat the stock, pour over the cous cous , cover and allow to swell for 10 minutes.
Add the almonds, zest, juice, olive oil, cumin and herbs to the cous cous and mix with a fork.
Season to taste, more olive oil or lemon may be added.
Heat a pan, season the chicken and gently fry until golden and cooked through about 6-8 minutes for the deboned thigh. ( The method will change for different cuts of chicken)
Serve the chicken on the cous cous with lemon wedges and a fresh green salad, the bulgarian yoghurt is drizzled over the top to cool down the heat .

Recipe and Picture Copyright by Tamsyn Wells


Nina Timm said...

What a delightful meal this must have been. Such intense flavors, really a taste explosion!!

Wonderful to find this lovely blog!!!

Olivia's Kitchen said...

Thanks Nina, to you too, it's worth a try.