Tag: harissa

Spicy Harissa Lentils with Lemon Tahini and Sweet Onions

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

A friend of ours gave us a large bottle of tahini which he brought back to Berlin from his latest trip to Israel. Guy knows how much we love this oily sesame paste and it wasn’t the first time that he brought some for us from one of his trips to the Middle East. This time, he announced solemnly that this Blue Dove Tahina is the best tahini ever. Unfortunately, I can’t read anything that’s written on it, apart from Quality Since 1921, the rest is in Arabic and Hebrew, but Guy told me that it’s not actually from Israel but from Palestine. If only people could forget about borders as easily as food does when it travels.

So, our special Tahina deserved some special recipes. Hummus came first, enjoyed only with some soft chunks of a white loaf of bread dipped into the velvety creaminess. We sprinkled a few pieces of the bread with the pure tahini paste and agreed that it’s so good that it doesn’t really need any addition, pure on bread – that’s perfection! However I couldn’t stop myself from coming up with another delicious way of making use of it: I whisked together a thick, oily sauce made of tahini, garlic roasted in olive oil and lemon juice – it’s divine. Then, I cooked red lentils in my  homemade vegetable broth and mixed it with spicy harissa, I drizzled the tahini sauce all over it and finished it off with onions, cooked until they were juicy, golden brown and almost as sweet as candy.

This recipe has been featured by Food52!

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

 

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

Spicy Harissa Lentils with Tahini and Sweet Onions

Serves 2

For the lentils

red lentils 200g / 7 ounces
vegetable broth (unsalted) 1/2l / 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon
harissa
fine sea salt
ground pepper
olive oil 1 tablespoon

For the topping

olive oil
onions, cut in half and thinly sliced, 2
a pinch of sugar
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh parsley leaves 12

For the tahini sauce

olive oil 3 tablespoons
garlic, cut into tiny cubes, 2 large clove
tahini 1 1/2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1-2 teaspoon
a pinch of fine sea salt

In a large heavy pan, bring the lentils and broth to a boil and simmer on medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Stir in 1 teaspoon of harissa and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and cook the onions on medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown and soft, stir in a pinch of sugar.

For the tahini sauce, heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat for about 1 minute or until the garlic is golden but not dark. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the garlic oil into a bowl. Whisk in the tahini, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt, season to taste.

Divide the lentils between plates, sprinkle with the tahini sauce, a little more harissa (optional), crushed pepper and parsley. Enjoy!

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

 

Spicy Red Lentils with Tahini and Harissa

 

lentiltahiniharissaonion10

A Greek Feta Dip with Harissa and Cayenne Pepper on Saffron Bread

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

The Greek stand at the market pokes my weak spot for spreads and nibbles. Bowls full of stuffed vine leaves, bean salad, olives, dips and feta cheese in all kinds of variations, I could always buy a box of each of these delicacies and line them up on my long dining table. Together with some fluffy flatbread and a glass of red wine, this is as good as a holiday!

As much as I enjoy the convenience of just going there and choosing whatever my taste buds feel like, I also like to make my own feta dip with herbs, spices or olives. This time I go for a spicy spread with harissa, cayenne pepper and some fresh red chili peppers. It’s accompanied by my wonderful loaf of saffron bread which I baked especially for this dip as I know and love its sandwich qualities. This yellow spice is strong but not overpowering and always manages to bring in its special flavour. The bread is very aromatic, spongy, juicy, it’s so good that it doesn’t really need a topping, some olive oil sprinkled on top is already heavenly. I could have left it at that but I like the combination of saffron and harissa, there wouldn’t be a better bread for my dip, not even a greek flatbread from the market.

Tomorrow I will share the recipe for the saffron bread with you but here’s my Greek feta dip with harissa and cayenne pepper (which tastes as good on any other tasty, fresh bread):

Mix 200g / 7 ounces of Greek feta cheese crumbled with a fork with 100g / 3.5 ounces of cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Add 2 teaspoons of dry harissa spice mix and a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot and spicy) and whip with a fork. I didn’t add any salt as the cheese makes it salty enough. Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh red chili pepper and some olive oil and spread voluptuously on a thick slice of bread. This dip is enough for 4 people as a starter, the 2 of us emptied the bowl in 2 days. It would be great for a picnic or barbecue as well!

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

Lemon-spiced Chicken Wings with Cumin, Harissa and Mint Yoghurt

Lemon Cumin Chicken Wings with Mint Yoghurt

Chicken wings are often underestimated, unfortunately. Their tasty meat is packed in between the bones which keeps it juicy and due to the short roasting time it doesn’t dry out. There isn’t much meat on the wings which is an advantage to me as I prefer a small portion of meat especially when it’s getting closer to summer and the temperatures rise. It’s definitely enough for a spicy treat together with some aromatic cumin, harissa, lemon juice and a few slices of my Moroccan preserved lemons (which you could replace with lemon zest).

The spices and lemon made a delicious skin, golden and crisp after 20 minutes in the oven and packed with wonderful aromas. I like to eat the wings with my fingers, to feel their sticky juices and dip them in a refreshing sauce of yoghurt, sour cream, lemon and mint.

You could also throw them on the grill which would add some smoky flavours or take them out with you on a summery picnic. It’s almost June and my mood calls for an early summer picnic with friends and lots of pots and plates of delicious food, so one dish is already sorted!

Lemon Cumin Chicken Wings with Mint Yoghurt

Lemon-spiced Chicken Wings with Cumin, Harissa and Mint Yoghurt

For 2 people as a main you need (we had half for lunch)

chicken wings 8
olive oil 4 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons
cumin 1 teaspoon
harissa 1 teaspoon
black pepper, crushed, 10 peppercorns
preserved lemon, sliced, 1/4
(or lemon zest 1 teaspoon)
coarse sea salt

For the yoghurt dip
yoghurt 4 tablespoons
sour cream 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
mint leaves, chopped, 10
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F top / bottom heat.

Whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice, cumin, harissa and black pepper and stir in the slices of the preserved lemon or the lemon zest. Place the chicken wings in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and coat with the spice oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Mix the yoghurt, sour cream, lemon juice, mint, salt and pepper and whisk until creamy.

We ate this with a simple green salad on the side and some baguette to dip into the juices. The French bread was also great with the yoghurt dip although Naan bread would have been more authentic.

Lemon Cumin Chicken Wings with Mint Yoghurt

 

Lemon Cumin Chicken Wings with Mint Yoghurt

 

Lemon Cumin Chicken Wings with Mint Yoghurt