Chilly paste with a twist-Harissa

Sunday 3 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Guess what?,Spanish Food

HarissaA couple of days back I met two of my very dear friends- Ruchi and Karan for dinner. We were supposed to meet in khan market. On my way to khan I detour to go check out the New Aman Hotel. I took Ruchi along with me and focus was to go through the menu, check the desserts and see what they are serving.

Aman hotel does live up to its name. It is quite peaceful there. Almost like a meditation area where every tickle of the water you could hear. The staff members were gracious and fervent. Something that made me reflect back to my days at Four Season Hotel. I mean mull over for a moment …the service does change your experience. From the valet to the manager everyone had a smile and humble way to greet – absolutely positive. (You get that only in one country from what I have seen. Everyone in Thailand smiles) .
Aman Hotel-has a Spanish tapas bar, I loved it at the first sight saw a whole bunch of gorgeous looking Spanish men sitting having a chinwag. All we heard was “si si”. (Si= yeah in Spanish).
My best memory of tapas is when my NOW-brother in law had come to meet me and I decided to go to a tapas bar with him or the time I did “bar hopping” with friends in San Diego. Good times and fond memories.

Anyhow I was explaining Ruchi the concept of tapas where I was telling her that it’s a combinations of whole bunch of appetizers be it meat or vegetarian accompanied with lots of wine or sangria. I like the idea of tapas a lot, who so ever came up with it- I am assuming it’s some Spaniard, since it’s a part of Spanish cuisine. The way it’s designed the concept it in reality egg’s on chat because people are not so dogged upon eating the total meal that is set before them.You get the best of both worlds-good chat + good food.So next time you want to go for a rendezvous you know what cuisine to pick!

Harissa is a traditional accompaniment with Spanish tapas though it’s very Tunisian and also is served with Moroccan food. That reminds me I will cook some couscous with harissa and share the recipe with you all. Harissa is counterpart of Sambal.
My mom loves it when I make, she loves to smear her multigrain bread with it. While I like to marinate my Paneer in it.
Make a lot of it and store it in a bottle if you love the chillies though make sure to cover with olive oil so the surface doesn’t dry up!

Chillies, red, fresh 500gms
Dried habenero pepper 1 ea.
Sundried tomatoes 100-200 Gms
Garlic, crushed in salt 1 ea.
Turmeric 1 tsp.
Coriander 1/4 tsp.
Cumin 1/4 tsp.
Caraway 1/4 tsp.
Lemon juice 1/4 tsp.
Olive oil for consistency and flavour t.t.
Water for consistency


1. Seed and stem the fresh chillies.
2. Toast and hydrate the dried chillies, seed and stem them.
3. Add everything to the blender and blend smooth if looking for a paste consistency else use a chopper.
4. Adjust with lemon juice, olive oil, and water.

The dinner was lovely at Amici – highlight was the pizzas but the dessert was absolutely sad!

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