I've never used harissa before in cooking but that is definitely going to change from now on, what an awesome ingredient!! Harissa is a fiery, aromatic paste used widely in many North African and Middle Eastern cuisines as a condiment, in stews or even mixed with olive oil as a dipping sauce and the exact ingredients vary depending on the country, region or family tradition.
Sainsbury's harissa paste has been created from a rich blend of rose petals, red peppers, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander and caraway and is part of their Speciality Ingredients range of foods.
I decided to use it to spice up a burger and I'm extremely happy with the results. Add more or less paste depending on how hot you want your burgers to be but one tablespoon adds enough flavour without the burgers being too hot! This recipe make 4 generous burgers.
Moroccan Vegetable & Chickpea Burger GF
1 380g packet/tin of cooked organic chickpeas in water or 230g cooked chickpeas
2 tblsps tahini
1 rounded tblsp harissa
2 small carrots
1 large red onion
½ large red bell pepper
½ medium courgette
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small handful fresh basil leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ lime juiced
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Thinly slice the onion and dice the carrots, courgette and bell pepper. Heat about 2 tablepoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for half a minute then tip in the chopped onion, crushed garlic, red bell pepper, courgette and carrot. Cook over a low to medium heat stirring regularly for about ten minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pan then season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
Add the harissa paste, cook for a few more minutes then remove the pan from the heat. Add the fresh basil leaves and squeeze the juice from half a lime over the vegetables.
Mash gently with a potato masher but don't break the structure of the vegetables, just squash lightly.
Stir in the tahini. Process a quarter to a third of the mixture in a food processor until almost smooth then stir it back into the vegetables. This helps to bind the ingredients. Sprinkle a little gram flour on a board or a plate and shape the burgers. We use rings to equally divide the mixture but you can divide the mixture into four and shape with your hands instead.
Spray a frying pan with a little more extra virgin olive oil, heat the pan gently and add the burgers. Cook on a gentle heat for about 7 to 10 minutes each side.