Baking | Red Harissa – versatile, HOT, beautiful … MOORISH!

“My tongue is smiling.”
Abigail Trillin

Red HarissaIt’s been an extended hot summer, really hot in every sense, now humid too. Add a HOT harissa to it and the combination gets teasingly explosive, bearable maybe? The Red Harissa turned out to be quite explosive, flavours that danced on the tongue. It’s become an integral part of my pantry, a sauce that I find myself reaching for more often than I really should be, but well!Red HarissaOnce in a while you trip across a condiment, a sauce, an additive that is HOT in every sense! I’m not the only one who thinks so. I often find the dieting diva sneaking some into her ketchup, salsa, sandwich. She claims chili helps you lose weight, burn calories, but I suspect she is quite addicted to it too.Red HarissaThe recipe is from a beautiful cookbook called Moorish, which lives up entirely to its name, and covers flavours from Mecca to Marrakesh! Greg & Lucy Malouf seduce your taste-buds with well laid out recipes, beautiful photographs and interesting trivia. They tempt you to churn our a chermoula as easily as you would a pesto, or to get as comfortable with tangines as you are with casseroles. NICE!Red HarissaWith more and more pantries stocking up on spices and ingredients no longer considered ‘exotic‘, you would find most of the stuff either at home or at the corner store. The book reflects the cuisine that sprang as a result of the Arabic occupation of North Africa in the 18th century … the very idea of this culinary expedition is moorish!Red HarissaThis sauce is more complex than most Moroccan versions, and one of many basic recipes Moorish offers – Dukkah, Za’atar, Preserved Lemons & Limes, Pickled Green Chilies, Tahini, Green Harissa, Toum, Taklia, Chermoula. The Chicken Paillard Fried in Cumin Butter is a recipe I use really often. Simple, quick to make, no do ahead stuff, and the flavours are amazing. A salad, a rustic bread, maybe roasted potatoes with it … We love a good chili sauce, the hotter the better; must be the Indian taste-buds, though a little goes a long way. The Sriracha Style Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce above is amazing and my to go recipe whenever red chilies are in season. This year however, I was a little busy and missed making a batch. With the tiny chilies in my garden in bloom, it was time to try the Red Harissa. Red Harissa

Red HarissaInitially taken aback by the number of chilies it used, dry and fresh, I was intrigued by the fact that it used a roasted bell pepper. Harissa is usually made with tomato paste. I made my first jar with slight hesitation; now on my fourth! Used the first batch on these Lamb & Purslane Pides combined with a homemade sweet Plum sauce. Was floored by the explosion of flavour!Red HarissaLamb CalzonesThere’s been no looking back. A tiny 1/4 tsp in tomato ketchup makes it sing, and some in a salsa sets the floor ablaze. Even if you don’t like it hot, just a teeny dot perks up the flavours. Are you game?

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Holiday Baking| Savoury Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread {vegetarian}

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”
Thomas Keller

Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadIt’s the season to be jolly, and in many ways jolly hungry! Fresh off the success of the sweet apple olive oil popovers and pull apart bread, I was keen to do a savoury version. The dough which came together beautifully for the Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pop-overs and Pull-Apart Bread delivered its promise in this wonderful Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread.

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Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadEggless, butterless yet light and scrumptious had won me over. The Pioneer Womans Cinnamon Roll Dough which I got from an adaptation from Ginny @ Cooking With Chopin, Living With Elmo for The Secret Recipe Club this month seems to have been one of the best discoveries of the year. It took to the apple stuffing so well, I decided to try my luck with savoury. I sneaked in some butter this time though!Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadSavoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadI might bake and blog a load of sweet on PAB, but my heart is totally savoury. Nothings delights my palette more than savoury bakes, the success of which are always very rewarding. I enjoyed making this bread, adding some red and green chili peppers that I had preserved in vinegar a few days ago. Tangy, chili, salty … loads of flavour in them. I think preserved olives or maybe roasted bell peppers would compliment this bread too. Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadServed my bread with some fresh homemade tomato soup, chargrilled broccoli with chili & garlic and chicken paillards in compound lime cumin butter. Wonderful! I find that working flavours into a basic dough prior to the rising makes the bread burst with flavour, and just the way the family loves it. I reached out for ingredients I found on my counter, in my pantry, in my fridge… flecks of red and green for the holiday season keeping me inspired!Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadInto the dough went dried herbs {fresh would be wonderful too}, garlic {we are a family that loves our garlic}, finely chopped almonds {just because I think nuts add great texture and taste to savoury breads; walnuts would be great too}. As a departure from the earlier recipe, I kneaded the dough for a minute or two before the final rise as it worked some elasticity into the dough, making it more pliable. {I made the dough in my Thermomix. You could use dough hooks or your processor as the dough is quite soft/doughy/sticky}Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadIn other completely unrelated news, my Thai chili plant from Down Under is finally in bloom and I cant wait to ‘harvest’ the first crop. The chilies look purplish at the moment, though I thought they were going to be red! Hmmm…Chili plantOh and our little Coco turned all of 6 months old, naughty as can be. She got thoroughly spoilt and completely untrained in the 4 days I was away … uber naughty again but C.U.T.E.!! Sigh!
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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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