WHAT IS HARISSA?
Thick, vibrantly red, and lusciously textured, the piquant chile paste beckons you the way it has beckoned North African cooks for centuries.
Imagine sitting down at an outdoor cafe in Marrakech, Tunis, or Tel Aviv. The air is perfumed with spice, and on the table in front of you sits a plate of something delicious, a glass of fresh mint tea, and a small jar of harissa.
Harissa has been at the center of Maghreb cuisine ever since New World explorers first introduced the Latin American pepper to Europe in the 16th century. (Scholars believe that chiles likely travelled to North Africa along with Spanish colonizers or roving spice traders.) With their beguiling flavor and easy adaptation to their new, sultry climate, Maghreb cooks quickly learned to love the chile pepper – particularly when pounded into an oil and spice-enriched paste that delivered fiery complexity to their food.
Today, harissa is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisine. It is also revered in places like France and Israel, which are home to large populations of people from these countries.
In the United States, harissa is quickly gaining popularity as a flavorful alternative to condiments like ketchup, salsa, and sriracha, as well as a potent ingredient that amps the flavor of any dish it touches.
HOW TO USE HARISSA? (HINT: ON EVERYTHING!)
Harissa is a remarkably versatile condiment that can spice up anything from lamb kebabs to fried eggs. Growing up, Ron’s family used it all the time – as a dipping sauce for fried fish, in traditional mashed potato and ground beef dumplings called popletas, in Moroccan carrot salads and fresh tomato salads, and to flavor chickpea dishes.
At home, try stirring a spoonful of NYSHUK harissa into soup for an extra kick of heat, or dilute it with oil to create a fragrant dipping sauce for bread or pita. Drizzle a little over hummus, grain salads, or roasted root vegetables; add it to marinades for chicken, beef, fish, or tofu; slather it on sandwiches, or dollop some onto a burger for an unforgettable twist. Need more inspiration? Check out our recipes for spiced up tuna salad, roasted tomato soup, and spaghetti and meatballs.
About the company
NYSHUK is our own story brought to New York City. Like all good stories it involves food. Our goal is to create an interpretation of our own heritage; traditional Jewish middle eastern food. “Shuk” means market in Hebrew and for us the market is the core basis of a united community, a place for local culture and commerce to come together. With every journey we take, it is the market foods of our community that travels with us. The Art of Couscous is a symbol of craftsmanship. It is a labor-intensive process of Semolina flour that is sprinkled with water and rolled with our hands to form tiny granules of couscous. Unfortunately, the art of couscous was lost to the processed instant supermarket couscous.The Art of Couscous is one of many lost cultural culinary rituals. NYSHUK is here to keep our fresh homemade traditions alive and give us the opportunity to experience those lost artistry rituals. Read More