Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Stir-Fried Harissa Chicken

It was at the recent Pantiles Food Festival that I spotted a stall run by a lovely couple selling spice mixes, flavoured salts and some oils. Relishing the opportunity for a free sample (why else do we go to food markets and festivals?), I happily dived in and so discovered a rather flavoursome harissa spice mix, predominately characterised by a great hot-cool balance of chilli and mint.

The company is called Taste and the spice rub tastes good. But how to use it? I decided to experiment, and so adapted a recipe from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II to create the recipe below. Happily, it turned out rather well.

Serves 2


- 3 handfuls pea shoots or baby leaf watercress
- 1 bag mixed young salad leaves
- 350g raw chicken breast or thigh meat
- 3 tsps harissa spice rub (or paste, if you don't have the dry variety)
- 2-3 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 lemon
- salt
- 125g basmati rice


1) Prep the salad - wash and dry if necessary.

2) Dice the chicken meat.

3) Put 2 level teaspoons of the harissa mix into a bowl big enough to hold the chicken. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Add the chicken and mix thoroughly.

4) Get a wok and put on a hob over a high heat. Once hot add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chicken. Fry over a high heat for 6 or 7 minutes, stirring regularly and leaving covered between stirring, until cooked through.

6) Meanwhile, cook your rice according to packet instructions. Add a teaspoon of the harissa mix to the boiling water to give the rice some extra flavour.

7) Add the sugar to the chicken, stir-fry for another minute, then squeeze in the juice of the lemon and season well with salt.

8) Add the salad and pea shoots/watercress, toss, and cook briefly until the leaves have started to wilt and darken.

9) Serve in bowls with the rice and be sure to drizzle the delightful pan juices from the wok over the dish. Add a little creme fraiche or yoghurt to reduce the heat and add some texture if you like.

Pimp it!:

- Serve with couscous rather than rice. Add a teaspoon of the harissa mix to the couscous before covering with boiling water.

- Add some grated fresh ginger and a couple of crushed garlic cloves at the mixing stage (step 3). Serve with torn fresh mint leaves scattered on top.

- Toss leftover harissa rice with leftover salad , olive oil and lemon juice. A simple and delicious salad.

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