Harissa Paste and Harissa Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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Harissa is another sauce I knew nothing about till recently just like the Tzatziki. And just like the Tzatziki, reading up made me think of a chutney which is a staple in Rajasthani households –  ‘Lehsun/Garlic ki chutney’!
The same method  i.e. soaking of chillies and grinding with garlic and spices- quite a few of them that I use in my kitchen on a daily basis like the coriander and the cumin. The pungent taste and the versatility.The only difference being that lehsun ki chutney is cooked in oil and Harissa is stored under a layer of oil.

 The Kitchn says ‘This Tunisian chile sauce is a fantastic shortcut to spice up a meal and can be used with everything from meat to vegetables, couscous, roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, as a dip for bread … the list is truly endless’

Any kind of chillies may be used. For a less pungent paste, add some charred red peppers along with chillies.
I made it with Byadgi chilli and it came out nice and just the right level of pungent.
A combination of red peppers and chilli peppers may also be used.
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10-12 red chillies soaked in boiling hot water for 30 mins
10 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp caraway
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
salt to taste
1 large tomato
1 tbsp olive oil plus more to cover if storing
1 tsp lemon juice
Remove the stems of the chillies   and soak for 30 mins in hot water. Store the water and use in case needed while blending the paste.
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Remove the seeds.
Dry roast the caraway, coriander and cumin. Let cool.
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In a food processor add the chillies, garlic, tomato, salt, the roasted spices, lemon juice and grind to a thick, coarse paste adding EVOO slowly.
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Store covered with a thin layer of olive oil.
Harissa with nama
The paste stays good for a month in the refrigerator.
Keep adding some olive oil as you scoop the paste off the top.

To make a dipping sauce, stir a couple of spoons of the paste into a cup of thick yogurt.
Serve with chips,crackers or like I did, with Sambousek!
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Recipe sourced and adapted from The Kitchn.

Tzatziki- A Cucumber Garlic Yogurt Sauce from Greece

IMG_5858I confess, the name Tzatziki (Pronounced tsa-tsi-ki) kind of stumped me (To add to the fun it is called ‘cha-chi-ki’ in Greek! ). I am not sure I would have ventured giving it a go had I not been on a Middle Eastern mission this month. But when I looked at the recipe, it was simplicity itself!
Reminiscent of our very own summer favourite ‘Kheere ka Raita’ this sauce comes together in a jiffy. Use it for sandwiches, wraps, rolls or dunk your chips in!
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All we need to watch out for is getting rid of all the excess water from the cucumber and we are good to go.
For about a cup of Tzatziki you need
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¾ cup very thick yogurt/curd/dahi (Hang about 2 cups of regular yogurt in a muslin cloth for a couple of hours to get the thick and creamy Greek style yogurt)
2 small cucumbers, peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic
¾ tsp salt
1 Tsp of lemon (add more as per taste)
8-10 fresh mint leaves, washed and torn

Sprinkle the cubed cucumber with salt and sit it in the colander covered with a plate with something heavy on the top so that the excess water drains. Alternatively, remove the seeds from the cucumbers and then dice them. The seeds contain water and can make the sauce watery.
Pat dry the cucumber with a towel and throw it into the food processor with garlic, lemon juice and the mint leaves.
Grind into a coarse paste.
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Stir into the yogurt and mix well.
Check and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
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Serve with chips, crackers or Lavash (Find recipe here)
Store refrigerated in an air tight container.
It stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Recipe sourced from Greek.Food.Com