Harissa is a North African hot chili paste, with a very distinct flavor. It's not garlicky like an Asian chili sauce, nor does it resemble any curry or Southeastern Asian-type pastes. Some of the more distinct ingredients of this paste are tomato, chili, red pepper, cumin, aniseed and coriander.
The recipe above was very easy to execute, didn't require too many ingredients and incorporates two of G's favorites: chicken and chickpeas. It turned out almost exactly as the picture provided online with the recipe, although I did make a few tweaks:
1. The recipe called for 1/4 cup of Harissa. The jar I purchased on the weekend is as big as a small jar of baby food and cost $4.29. I was not using the bulk of it in one recipe, so after doing a finger taste of the paste, I only added 2 tablespoons. I could have likely increased that to 3, but we were both happy with the end result.
2. As recommended by many reviewers online, I increased the chicken stock to 1 cup, which proved to be excellent advice as the sauce did reduce significantly while cooking in the oven.
3. I used a dutch oven instead of a frying pan.
4. I used skinless chicken thighs. I'm sure the skin would have added some delicious fatty flavors, but we be watching our fatty-food intake right now, so no skin. It was still delicious.
I served it with some basmati rice and naan. Look at me, mixing North African paste with Central Asia side dishes! I know, rebel.
I would recommend this ingredient to anyone who enjoys food with a bit of kick, as well as fragrant and "exotic" spices. I get very bored of eating chicken 2-3 times a week, so having this new recipe on rotation makes me enjoy our fine-feathered friends just a little bit more.
Have you tried Harissa paste? Do you have any recipes to recommend using this ingredient?