Harissa is a North-African spice paste that blows my mind (and mouth) on many different levels. Roasted peppers, chillies, coriander, garlic and spices form its base, and this fiery blend is used extensively to flavour meats, soups, stews, and couscous, apart from being used as a condiment in dips etc. I read somewhere that it’s also common to find people slathering it on bread and eating it for breakfast! Oh, that would definitely kick-start your day now, wouldn’t it.
A small dollop of this paste goes a long way – it can be used as a marinade for your chicken drumsticks, mixed into a spicy soup (I think chickpeas would work nicely here), slathered on some fish and pan-seared, the list is endless. I think it might just have overtaken Sriracha in my kitchen this season. That’s a bold statement, I know.
I sliced the carrots into thick batons because I wanted them to retain their shape upon roasting, and also to still have a bite to them. If I’d found a smaller, thinner variety of them here I would’ve roasted them whole. The balance of the spicy harissa against the earthy sweetness of maple syrup is subtle without being too overpowering.. you know it’s all about the yin and yang.
INGREDIENTS : (Serves 3 – 4)
Adapted from Bon Appétit
350 grams carrots
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp paprika
2 tsps maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
Coriander leaves (for garnish)
Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F) and line a baking tray with aluminium foil. You could alternatively using an oven-proof dish.
Cut the carrots lengthwise into batons approximately the size of a French fry. Mix together all the ingredients above (except the coriander leaves) and toss the carrots evenly in this marinade.
Lay the coated carrots in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Sprinkle over coriander leaves and serve.
(Note : Cooking time would vary depending on the variety and size of the carrots, so make sure to keep an eye on them after 20 minutes).