Saturday, 18 May 2013

Moroccan flavours

Harissa is to North Africa what hummus is to Middle East - each country in the region claims to have invented it and supposedly produces the best stuff money can buy.

In its liquoricey spiciness it is rather unique and works with just about anything. Well... ice cream might be an exception. 

You can also make it yourself, buy it at the ethnic markets or you can outsource sourcing it to a friend's family that in all their internationality rival UN and the Pitt-Jolie- family. Such as a my dear friend Taru from Trio Miumau- blog who has just honoured us with I love your blog- award. We love!  

Today we used it in a Moroccan style harissa yoghurt that was served with lamb köftes and carrot and mint couscous.

Lamb köftes (fancy ethnic name for skewered mince) were seasoned with ras el hanout, a spice mix widely used all over Middle East and North Africa. It literally means the top shelf of the shop, which refers to the fact that each shop has their own variety with their own regional features.

Before the Moroccan variety used to contain a special green beetle, due to its (alleged?) afrodisiac qualities, but its use was banned in the 1990's. The ingredients vary greatly from one mix to another and some feature up to 20 different spices. You could always make your own - this is mine.

Ras el Hanout:

1 tbsp corianderseeds, ground
1 tbsp cumin, ground
1/4 tbsp cloves, ground
1/4 tbsp allspice, ground
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper 
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/4 tbsp cardamom, ground

For three

Lamb köfte

250 g lamb mince
1,5 tbsp ras el hanout
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
3 slices of bread
a couple of tbsp stock
handful of parsley, chopped
salt, pepper

Remove the crusts from the bread. Soak it in stock until it disintegrates. Soften the onion in a little bit of oil until translucent  Add garlic and ras el hanout. Add to the bread mixture. Combine into this mince and parsley. Work into a smooth mixture and let rest in the cold for half an hour. Shape into oblong patties around a skewer and fry, either in a grill or in a pan for a couple of minutes per side.

Carrot and mint couscous

3 dl couscous
3 dl carrot juice
1/2 onion
handful of mint leaves, chopped
lemon juice

Bring the carrot juice to boil and add couscous. Turn the heat off and let the couscous cook covered until it's  done and the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with fork, add mint and a dash of lemon juice. Season and serve.

Harissa yoghurt sauce

2 dl Greek yogurt
2 generous tsp harissa paste
1 tsp tomato paste
a dash of lemon juice

Combine the ingredients and let sit in the cold for a while before serving.

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