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When I think of North African cuisine I tend to think of Morocco. However, after a little research it was obvious that a number of North African countries adopt similar flavours in their local cuisine. This recipe is a spicy tomato and pepper based stew which is traditionally served for breakfast in Algeria but I think it works equally as well for supper on a cold winters night and it did not disappoint. There are versions of this dish prepared all over Northern Africa and the Middle East and ingredients used tend to vary from country to country. You have the option to add meat of your choice, chunks of spicy sausage sounds like it would go particularly well. My version makes the most of the Algerian love affair with spice and given I couldn’t find shop bought Harissa paste without mint in, (as the other half cannot stand mint), I had little choice but to make my own which only added to the flavours.
What You Need To Make Your Own Harissa
- fresh/dried chillies of your choice and heat
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Combine the chillies with the spices, garlic, and salt and blitz in a food processor. (You can also use a mortar and pestle.)
- Make a paste. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process to form a smooth and thick paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. If a thinner paste is desired, continue to blend adding more olive oil until the paste has reached your desired texture.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. The flavour of the Harissa will deepen if left for a day or two, but you can taste it now and add more salt or other optional ingredients to your liking.
- Transfer the Harissa to a jar and cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover the jar and refrigerate for up to a month, adding a fresh layer of olive oil on the top each time you use the Harissa.
and for the Chakchouka…………………
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, sliced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, diced
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 2 Red Pepper
- 1 fresh chilli
- 1 Tablespoon of home made Harissa Paste
- 6 Tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- Finely chopped spring onions to garnish
- Chilli flakes optional
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic and fry until the onions are softened but not coloured.
- Turn up the heat and add the peppers and fry until starting to colour and onions are golden brown. Add the Harissa and fry for a further two minute to cook out.
- Add the tomatoes and fry until the juices have released. At this point you may need to add water if there isn’t enough liquid in the pan. Place the lid on and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes have stewed down to a rich sauce.
- Create the required number of holes in the sauce and crack an egg into each hole. You may find it easier to crack them one at a time into a bowl and pour them from the bowl into the gap created.
- Place the lid on your pan and simmer for around 8 minutes or until the eggs are cooked but still have runny yolks.
- Garnish with fresh spring onions and serve with warm rustic bread to mop up the egg yolk and spicy sauce