This Tunisian carrot salad calls for harissa. Many notes accompany the recipe below, but this dish is very easy – the many notes are just a by-product of cooking mzoura quite a few times, then permitting myself to think I know why it has not turned out as good some times as it has others.
1 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned
5 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. harissa mixed with 6 tbs. water
1 tsp. ground caraway
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
¼ c. wine vinegar
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro optional garnish.
Bring a saucepan ¾ full of salted water to boil. Add carrots and boil, until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain well. In a sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil.
Add the garlic, diluted harissa, caraway, cumin, salt and vinegar. Stir for 2 minutes.
Add carrots and cook them, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 min. Transfer to a serving dish, and serve at room temperature, with or without garnish.
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Capsaicin (from Wikipedia)
The chemical compound capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals including humans and produces a sensation of burning in the mouth. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by chili peppers, probably as deterrents against herbivores. Birds are generally not sensitive to capsaicinoids; pet parrots often love to eat even the spiciest curry or hot pepper, as a snack. Pure capsaicin is a lipophilic colorless odorless crystalline to waxy compound.
North african chili sauce.
Combine 1.5 tablespoons ground cayenne, 1/4 cup ground cumin and 1/2 cup olive oil in a mortar and pestle. I also add as much as 2 teaspoons of ground caraway when I have it. Grind the ingredients into a paste, to which you may add a little salt, to taste.
Since this recipe makes more harissa than is likely to be used at once, I recommend storing it in a glass jar with a lid. Harissa of this kind does not require refrigeration. When stored, the contents of the harissa I have made inevitably separate, requiring the ground spices to be stirred up prior to use.