Monday, 29 September 2014

Charred Tomato Harissa

Life..Huh..the only word that has no definite meaning. At times, its sweet..sometimes bitter..I have come to see that there is a sweetness to life that can only be tasted in the wake of the bitterness - a depth carved from the bitterness that drops us into another level of sweetness.

If you’re like most people, you’ll tend to appreciate the sweet life experiences much more so than the bitter ones. You’ll  tend to gravitate towards the sweeter foods rather than the edibles that are bitter to the tongue. 

Being the hopeful humans that so many of us are, we often await the sweeter times that follow the bitter ones. It’s natural and necessary to believe that the more pleasant tasting moments in life are right around the corner. But in every moment, we can access pleasure or pain, bitter or sweet, hope or despair, fear or love. Life is often hurled at us as a climax of feelings, sensations, details and decisions. 

Today, in my Kitchen, i have attempted to dish out a condiment from the Middle East. Harissa is super super spicy, little bitter & mildly tangy & sweet dip. This fiercely (Trust me on this, it is) hot relish has a slight bitterness to it with sweet aftertaste on our palate. Just as the experiences of life, isn't it? No wonder, these are two natural and complementary opposites in life. Monotony seeps in if either of them goes missing.

Its so aptly said that "Holding the paradox of life, being with the bitter and the sweet, resisting nothing. Allowing the totality of the experience, this is FIERCE LIVING!"

This version of Harissa is just like our lives. Incredibly spicy with a twist of slight bitterness & a remarkably soothing sweetness which lingers on the taste buds for sometime. 


4 big ripened tomatoes 
4 cloves garlic
6 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 cup fresh coriander
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Juice of half lemon
1 tbsp EVOO
Salt as per taste

Steps to Follow:-

1. Roast all the tomatoes on the naked gas flame.Keep turning with the tong until the tomatoes emanate a smoky aroma.
2. Once the tomatoes are roasted well, keep them aside to cool.
3. In a pan roast the following separately - garlic cloves, cumin, caraway seeds and coriander seeds
4. In a pan heat some water and add the dried red chillies to it once it starts to boil. Let the chillies stay in there for 20 mins.
5. Now in the meantime, peel off the charred skin of the tomatoes and dice them into cubes. Remove the excess pulp of the tomatoes (if needed. I have removed them in mine)
6. In a blender,roughly blitz roasted garlic, cumin, caraway seeds and coriander seeds along with tomatoes & coriander.
7. Add sugar and salt and squeeze in some lemon juice.
8. Add EVOO to it in the end.
9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

NOTE: Harissa paste will keep for up to months. Topping off with more oil after each use. This can be used as a relish for a main course or as a marinade too. To make further best use of it, is your creativity!

I have a jar filled with my bitter sweet Harissa sauce, soon to be used in my meals. How about you? Believe me, you cannot choose to miss to savor all the flavors of delightfulness.

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