Wednesday, November 14, 2007

# 53: African Spice - Harissa

Food and Wine's 100 Tastes to Try in 2007 lists African spices and tea as #53:

What happens when intellectuals get together to save native plants, develop local business and help impoverished communities in Africa? They launch a line of spices and herbal teas called Mpuntu. The vanilla-scented mondia whitei spice is exotic; the lemongrass tea from Zambia is soothingly familiar (

I could not figure out how to order anything from the listed website but I was lucky to find several African spice mixes in The Soul of a New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. I made a batch of Harissa which Marcus describes as "a fiery red paste that can be found in virtually every Tunisian kitchen. It's the hottest spice mix in the region." And spicy it is! I used it for his Harissa Roasted Turkey and Stuffing recipe. I'm not sure what else I would use it for - the cookbook suggests an accompaniment to couscous or as a flavoring for spice and stews.
(makes 1 1/4 cups)

3/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground caraway
1 cup mild chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chopped mint

Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the caraway, chili powder, coriander, salt and mint and stir to combine. Let cool.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Pierre said...

MPUNTU teas are now available for sale in the US from ASNAPP USA.