Updated: Jul 29, 2022
Without grilling, you can make it taste smoky and exotic. The trick is to explore the brown and red spices.
Example: Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Coriander, Chili Powder, Caraway . Then add a dash of yellow aka Turmeric (the main spice in Mustard) Lets try about 1/4 teaspoon of everything ,each spice all grounded up (I use a coffee grinder) Save it for later .Label it Tunisian Spice mix . That is what Hello Fresh calls it, and they mix it in their
meat that has been stir-fried. I like to use it as a fish rub. It coats nicely if you rub the fish in olive or canola oil first.
If you like warm and smoky with a acid bite like garlic, try this: equal parts garlic (1) bulb crushed, with cumin and chili powder. 1/2 teaspoon is the best amount to start with for each spice. Garlic powder can be used , so can flakes. BUT be careful not to overwhelm and use this handy conversion chart from the Culinary Lore site:
Finally, lets do Harissa. Like the Romans who could afford it, take your taste buds to the same general area of Tunisia and North Africa. According to the food expert, Pip Sloane,
"Harissa (Arabic: هريسةharīsa, from Maghrebi Arabic) is a hot chili pepper paste, native to the Maghreb. The main ingredients are roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers (بقلوطي), spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil to carry the oil-soluble flavors." https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/six-best-harissa-pastes-tried-tested/
Harissa is a traditional HOT paste to rub into fish or veggies or meats. The smoking part is you- be prepared for the heat with some plain yogurt on your plate, spoon some into your mouth and alternate harissa food and yogurt.
As for Harissa
Buy the paste and save time...
In Morocco, I ate harissa on lamb with rose petals, which does nothing to cut the heat. Back home, there are two choices: No heat by using red Bell Peppers or
Going Southwestern , use red Cayenne peppers. It is hot, harissa, unless you make your own with red Bell peppers. In either case, Harissa is smoky because of the cumin, which is why you should make it in equal parts .Try @1/4 teaspoon of red peppers, cayenne peppers garlic, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil to turn it paste-like.
Best places to buy a ready made rub like harissa are Whole Foods and
Middle Eastern Market (303) 756-4580 2254 S Colorado Blvd Denver, CO 80222
Feel free to experiment. Making a soup? Hopefully an interesting Bouillabaisse. A chef friend of mine works quicker with ready made sauces . He brought Ajvar instead of harissa, and the eggplant base was pleasantly warm .