Happy (New Year) Harissa

Fresh Made Harissa

The arrival of winter happened only a few weeks ago and I am missing the presence of fresh herbs in my diet. Fortunately organic parsley and cilantro are easily available from many grocery stores. I love cooking ethnic food and see harissa mentioned a lot in magazines and cookbooks.

Harissa is similar to Chermoula, both of which are from North Africa, and Chimichurri which is from South America. All three are some combination of fresh chiles (red or green) with dried spices (corander, paprika, cumin, carraway, cloves, cinnamon, saffron) garlic, and fresh green herbs (mint, oregano, cilantro, and parsley).

This green version as it is not too “hot”. I like it out of the refrigerator and spread on crackers or toast.  It stores that way for several months if one uses high quality olive oil. Heated it can be used to roast or grill meats and vegetables. I look forward to mixing it into rice, pasta or yogurt.

Green Harissa

1 large jalapeno pepper

1 tsp ground cumin seeds

1 TBSP of coarsely ground coriander seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp of fennel seeds

2 cloves of garlic

1 TBSP of finely chopped cilantro

2 TBSP of finely chopped parsley

1/2 tsp of salt

In a food processor, chop the garlic with the salt.

Add in the pepper and dried spices.

Finish with the fresh herbs and process until smooth.

Gradually add in the olive oil until the harissa is the consistency of mayonnaise.

Parsley is very high in chlorophyll and may support the body to better use the oxygen that is breathed in. It is thought to help the kidneys to function better by reducing the amount of fluid the tissues hold onto. Parsley contains several vitamins and minerals in small amounts. It has been used to treat gout, bad breath, arthritis, anemia, digestive issues, jaundice, and kidney stones.

Coriander is one of the world’s first cultivated spices.  Some people believe that the leaf/cilantro can remove heavy metals from the body. The seed has been used to treat anxiety, asthma, digestive issues, cramps, colic, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, allergies, high cholesterol, insomnia, sore throat, and vomiting.  Coriander is used in cuisines to flavor and preserve food.

If you enjoy ethnic food, what is your favorite dish that feature cilantro or coriander seed?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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