First off, homemade harissa is the best. If you haven’t made it, let me tell you it’s the easiest condiment to make with everyday ingredients. And quite fun too. Also, there are so many different dishes you can make based on harissa. I made a salad dressing and it was delicious. You can make chicken wings with it, or simply use it in yoghurt to make a dip and much more.
One Sunday I wanted to make a vegetarian lunch without spending much time in the kitchen. That’s how this recipe came about. It’s no biggie since it was a simple mixed vegetable rice. Something we’ve all made a few times and have multiple recipes of it. This time around I didn’t want to use too many spices. I pounded some ginger, garlic, coriander leaves with its stems, peppercorns and coriander seeds together. With that mix and my harissa, the house smelled incredibly delicious. Just throw in whatever veggies you may have at hand – I had carrots, beans and peas. It was a light and lovely meal.
Basmati rice – 1.5 cups
Carrot – 1 large cut into big chunks so it doesn’t overcook
French beans – Handful cut into 2 inch pieces
Peas – 1 cup
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Onion – 1 large roughly sliced
Coriander leaves with stems – handful roughly chopped
Peppercorns – 2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Ginger – 2 inch piece roughly chopped
Garlic – 5-6 cloves (yes, I love my garlic)
Green chilli – 1 (optional)
Harissa paste – 3 tbsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Ghee/oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Wash the rice and keep it aside.
In a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander leaves and seeds, peppercorns, ginger and garlic to a rough paste. Alternately, you could use a blender to do the job. Keep aside.
Heat the ghee and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
Once fragrant, add the onions and saute till they’re soft.
Mix in the harissa and the pounded mixture along with turmeric, chilli powder.
Now add the vegetables and mix them all.
Tip the rice in at this point and mix.
Add 3 cups water and salt. Let it come to a simmer.
Lower the heat and cook for 2o mins or till the rice has cooked.
Serve with raita, pickle and crisps if you’d like.