Harissa – a red chili paste made of peppers, oil and spices like caraway – is one of the most popular condiments across North Africa. In Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, harissa is served as a dip alongside just about everything, from fish to cous cous to French bread.
For more on this amazing Maghrebian wonder sauce, see here.
Although it’s possible to find homemade (and squeeze-tubed) harissa in many grocery stores in the United Arab Emirates, it’s just as easy – if not better – to make it at home.
Here’s a simple recipe for very thick and very spicy harissa. Continue reading
Think you can stand the heat of the hottest chili pepper in the world? Even if you love spicy chili burn, you may meet your match with one of these peppers:
A Peruvian pepper that registers 175,000 Scoville Heating Units (SHUs). It’s known in Peru as ‘the apple’, though people who’ve eaten it accidentally thinking it was fruit describe it as anything but. “I never could have imagined that this was going to make me cry and barely breathe, with my mouth on fire,” said this man.
One of the best hot sauces on the planet comes from Yemen, a nation on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
It’s called zhug, a fiery chili pepper paste that is both rich in flavor and spicy enough to require a tall glass of water on hand while eating. The main ingredient in zhug is the serrano, which can be a fairly hot chili depending on the individual pepper. The other two main flavors come from garlic – there is a lot of it in zhug – and cumin.
Zhug is starting to get more recognition on the international stage, though it’s already quite popular in the Middle East. It can be found at Yemeni restaurants across the region (see here, for example). It’s also very popular in Israel; zhug was brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews as they immigrated in the last half century. Today, zhug is a common condiment in Israeli street food, commonly spooned onto falafel and shwarma sandwiches.
Indeed, zhug goes well as a savory spread with just about anything: salads, chicken, meat, fish, eggs, and any type of sandwich or wrap. The only trouble is that its very difficult to find the green hot sauce for sale in grocery stores, especially outside of the Middle East.
So here is a simple, step-by-step illustrated recipe for making quick and easy batch of zhug at home with minimal ingredients. Note: there are many, many ways to make zhug (some Yemenis, for example, blend mint leaves into the mix) – this is just one example.
Editor’s note: Camels Fire is constantly on the move, exploring Abu Dhabi and beyond to discover the best spices and cheap, local eats. The following is a special report from Pokhara, Nepal.
In a country where hot peppers are a frequent ingredient in the cuisine, it’s only a matter of time before the beverages start becoming fiery too. And if you like a little kick in liquid form, there’s a bar in central Nepal that serves up a unique whiskey drink with fresh watermelon juice blended with spicy green chilis.
Darshan Lama, a 24-year-old Nepalese bartender, invented the fruit juice and pepper concoction a couple of years ago with his brother while sitting around waiting for customers.
“We were bored and just messed around with it,” said Lama, who serves drinks in a hotel bar in Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city best known for its mountain lake and hordes of trekking tourists.
The drink is refreshing while adding a little bit of burn that a spice-lover will thoroughly enjoy. Plus it’s good ice-breaker for your next party – and a way to impress guests with your mixing creativity and fearlessness in the face of this spicy concoction.
Here’s a step-by-step illustrated recipe so you too can make the drink: