If you need some interesting new dips to serve with your pita, you are in the right place… I was bored of hummus and tatziki amongst others when I came across this recipe for a Tunisian carrot dip. Now I have had some carrot dips in Lebanese/Middle-eastern restaurants as part of mezze and never really was bowled over by any of them. Enter Houriya courtesy of Diana Henry’s recipe… and I am finding myself spreading it even on toast for breakfast, running to the kitchen to putting a smidge on a bit of baguette as a snack…obsessed. Just taste it and see… the lime and the honey really work well with the harissa and make this sing. Not sure why hummus is king, this could totally take over!
It is superb with some Iranian bread called Naan e Barbari (delicious, and everyone must try), which I had to go all the way to Iranian store called Eskan in the 15th arrondissement of Paris to find. You can also get your Tahini and pomegranate molasses amongst other Persian and middle eastern goodies here.
Simple and easy to make and delivers loads of flavor. Diana Henry said every recipe in this book had to be magical and having only tried this dip first, I can say it totally is magical. Turning the humble carrot into something so fantastic is pretty rare. I have adapted it to my taste a little. If you have a bag of carrots sitting in your fridge you need to finish do yourself a favor and make this!
300g (10.5 oz) carrots cut into chunks and cooked till tender
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tsp harissa (I like Belazu rose harissa)
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1.5 tsp honey
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
juice of a lime
1 green chili cut into a few pieces
Add cooked carrots and all other ingredients to food processor and blend. Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste, add more salt/pepper/honey/vinegar. Serve at room temperature drizzled with some olive oil. Drizzle some harissa on top too if you like.
Well, I am finally back! I was away travelling the last couple of months around Ladakh, Mumbai, Kuala Lampur and then a couple of weeks in London. Happy now to be home in NYC! For those of you who have not been to Ladakh yet, get yourself up there! It is a stunning part of India on the border of Tibet. The scenery is just spectacular, its rugged beauty will astound you, making you feel like you are on the moon at times!
Lake Pangong in Ladakh
Sheep crossing the road to Nubra Valley
On my stay in London I was very happy to pay Ottolenghi’s Nopi a visit with some good fiends, as usual they offered up some real in your face flavors. Upon returning home, I found myself still in a very Ottolenghi inspired mood! So I decided to try out his extremely tantalizing harissa-marinated chicken with red grapefruit salad from Ottolenghi The Cookbook.
I had never made my own harissa before, this one is Tunisian and turned out nice and smokey, very different to the Moroccan harissa I usually have which is a lot more lemony with the preserved lemon flavors quite strong.The grapefruit, lemon and maple syrup sauce smells divine and glistens beautifully, effortlessly making your mouth water. It tastes simply amazing, almost like sunshine! Really makes the whole dish come alive by allowing the citrus flavors to mingle nicely with the smoky flavors of the harissa and make the dish truly sing.
The left over chicken tastes really great the next day wrapped up in a pitta with some hummus, chilli paste, onions, salad leaves, and of course with lashings of the tangy gorgeous grapefruit sauce drizzled over the top. I think the extra sauce could be used to make dressings for salads too, it is so tasty you want to eat every last drop of it.
Harissa-marinated chicken with pink grapefruit salad Serves 4
800 g chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
For the harissa marinade 1 red pepper 1/2 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1/2 tsp caraway seeds 1/2 tbsp olive oil 1 small red onion, roughly chopped 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 2 mild fresh red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped 1 dried red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped 1/2 tbsp tomato puree 2 tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp salt 1 tbsp Greek yogurt (or strained plain yogurt)
For the pink grapefruit salad 2 pink grapefruits 120 g peppery wild rocket 1 tsp olive oil course sea salt and black pepper
For the sauce 150 ml pink grapefruit juice 130 ml lemon juice 150 ml maple syrup (or honey) 1/4 tsp salt a pinch ground cinnamon 1 star anise
1 First make the marinade for the chicken. Over a gas ring or under a very hot grill, toast the red pepper until blackened on the outside. This should typically take about 8 min on an open flame, 15-20 min under a very hot grill. Place the pepper in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool. Peel the pepper and discard the seeds.
2 Place a dry frying pan on a low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds for 2 min. You should be able to smell the aromas of the spices. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
3 Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, and fresh and dried chillies and fry until they turn a dark, smoky colour. Now blitz together all the marinade ingredients except the yogurt in a food processor or blender; you will have a pure harissa paste.
4 To marinate the chicken, mix the paste with the yogurt and use your hands to rub it all over the chicken thighs. Layer them in a plastic container, seal and refrigerate overnight.
5 The next day, take each grapefruit and use a small, sharp knife to slice off the top and tail. Now cut down its sides, following its natural lines, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments. Squeeze any remaining juice into a bowl and keep to make up the 150 ml juice required for the sauce.
6 Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Lay out the marinated chicken pieces, spaced well apart, on a large baking tray and place in the hot oven. After 5 min, reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees C and cook for another 12-15 min, until the chicken is almost cooked. Now place the chicken under a hot grill to give it extra colour and cook it through completely.
7 Meanwhile, place all the sauce ingredients in a small pan and bring to a light simmer. Simmer for about 20 min, or until reduced to a third.
8 To serve, toss the rocket and grapefruit segments with the olive oil, salt and pepper, Pile in the centre of 4 serving plates, put the warm chicken on top and drizzle about a tablespoonful of the sauce over each portion.