Harissa Prawns with Hummus & Pita (3 Recipes!)

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, here are a bunch of them – a mix of African
and Middle Eastern flavours.


I had written recently about the new addition to
my cookbook family (read Of a Memorable Brunch and New Cookbooks)
– the very entertaining The Married Man’s Guide to Creative Cooking
by Samar
. The book is filled with interesting anecdotes and recipes
that will make you want to venture into the kitchen even in this infernal
October heat! Written in his usual chatty style, the book is a bit heavy on the
meats and fish dishes rather than the veggies. Also, there are some great recipes for
condiments that you can easily make at home instead of relying on
preservative-laden store-bought stuff.

is one such recipe mentioned in the book and I tried it out recently in this
delectable prawn dish. It was quite a hit with the husband and I made it again
last night for a potluck dinner with some girlfriends – who also made the right
noises about it 😉 Harissa
is a condiment of disputed origin but it’s popular in North African and Middle
Eastern cuisine – from Tunisia to Morocco, harissa is used to flavour meats,
stews and vegetables.

Recipe #1 – Harissa
how you can make it at home. This recipe makes about 200 gm of harissa.
  • 20
    dried red Chillies
  • 3
    tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3
    tsp Coriander powder
  • 2
    tsp Cumin powder
  • 1
    tsp Caraway seeds
  • Salt


  • Boil
    a pot of water and soak the chillies for about 30 minutes. The chillies must be
    completely submerged in water.
  • Remove
    the softened chillies and discard the stems and seeds.
  • Grind
    the chillies along with half the olive oil and salt.
  • Then
    add the spices and grind with the rest of the oil. You’re looking for a
    paste-like consistency so add some more olive oil if the mixture is too dry.
  • Store
    in a glass bottle. Add a layer of olive oil on top and it should stay for a
    couple of weeks.
2 – Harissa Prawns
  • 20
    medium Prawns, cleaned and de-veined
  • 1
    medium Onion, chopped lengthwise
  • 1-1 ½ teaspoons of Harissa
  • Salt
    & Turmeric
  • Juice
    of 1 Lemon
  • Olive
  • Coriander
    for garnish


  • Rub
    the prawns with harissa, some salt and turmeric. Add the
    lemon juice and allow to marinate for a while.
  • In
    a pan, heat some oil and fry ¾ of the chopped onions.
  • Once
    they soften add the prawns and fry till they are cooked through.
  • Transfer
    the prawns onto a bed of Hummus (recipe below) and garnish with the remaining
    chopped onion and coriander. Add a squeeze of lime. Serve with warm pita bread.

3 – Hummus

  • 100 gm chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked (Tip – preferably refrigerate the cooked
    chickpeas for a few hours before using)
  • 1
    tbsp Tahini (recipe here)
  • 2
    cloves Garlic
  • 1
    tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2
    green chillies, slit lengthwise (or 1 tsp red chilli powder)
  • Juice
    of 1 Lemon
  • Olive
    oil (extra virgin)
  • Salt
    to taste

How to:

  • Put
    all ingredients in a food processor. Add some water as well and blitz till you
    get a smooth consistency. Adjust the seasonings as per taste.
  • Sprinkle
    some red chilli powder on top and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter some olives on top. Serve with warm pita



  1. Perzen Patel 21 October, 2013 at 04:50 Reply

    Thanks – this Harissa recipe looks awesome. Can it also be had as a dip or is it more a marinade for cooking? For the Hummus, I also generally try putting yoghurt and white sesame seeds – it makes up for not putting Tahini..

    P.S. How did the Harissa prawns turn out?

    • deliciouslydirectionless 21 October, 2013 at 05:08 Reply

      Thanks, Perzen! Harissa can be added to a dip – hummus e.g. It's too spicy to be eaten as a dip, but you can try adding it to yogurt based dips. Let me know how it works out 🙂 Thanks for the tip about hummus, though I generally have Tahini in my fridge coz I make A LOT of hummus 😉

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