Africa

Steve’s Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks

street food

We are always on the lookout for new and interesting spice combinations, and this one is fabulous! It came from our globe trotting friend and fan, Steve R., and features the savory spice blend Tabil along with Piri Piri and Smokin’ Hot Garlic Pepper bringing the heat. The drumsticks get a quick brine to help them retain moisture and the spices flow into a sweet citrus sauce that hits all the hot-sour-salty-sweet flavors that shine in Asian cuisine. Steve was inspired by his travels- and love of street food- to create this fusion BBQ sauce, and we are so happy that he shared this recipe! We’re planning to try it on wings next.

steves drumsticks

Steve’s Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks

Steve’s Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg chicken drumsticks (6 - 8)
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground Piri Piri
  • 1 tablespoon ground Tabil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Nuoc Mau (Vietnamese caramelized coconut sauce) - if you can't find it, you can substitute blackstrap molasses instead
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smokin' Hot Garlic Pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse chicken and place in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the chicken. Seal the bag, shake, and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. While chicken is brining, mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside for the flavors to blend.
  3. Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry. Put the drumsticks and the spice mixture into another resealable plastic bag, mix and place in the refrigerator for 5 hours (or overnight).
  4. Preheat your grill or the oven to 400 degrees. Cook, turning once, for about 22-24 minutes (or until the meat runs clear when pricked with a knife).
https://www.silkroaddiary.com/steves-sweet-spicy-drumsticks/

Thanks so much, Steve! Safe travels, and stay in touch :-)

Steve R.

Categories: Africa, Course, Global Cuisines, Grilling Season, Recipes, Sides, Snacky Bits | Leave a comment

Harissa Spiced Pecans

We never tire of whipping up different spiced nut combinations. Salty or sweet, hot or mild, there are endless combinations to try. Harissa Spiced Pecans are especially addictive, though, because they have it all: mild chile and smoky, savory spice, balanced perfectly with just enough brown sugar. These give a crunchy flavor punch to everything from garden salads to a pre-game cheese ball. But really, the best way to enjoy them is straight out of the oven.

harissa_spiced_pecans

This recipe is easy to make and not too sweet. Spiced nuts are a welcome treat for last minute gatherings or entertaining.

Harissa Spiced Pecans

Harissa Spiced Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground Harissa
  • 1 teaspoon Voodoo
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups whole pecans
  • 1 egg white

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil, oil lightly and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices.
  4. In a large bowl, whip the egg white until soft peaks form. Add the nuts and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the nuts, and stir again to coat evenly.
  6. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the sheet pan and bake 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure an even toast.
  7. Allow to cool slightly and start munching!
https://www.silkroaddiary.com/harissa-spiced-pecans/

Harissa

Categories: Africa, Recipes, Salads, Snacky Bits | 2 Comments

Pasilla Oaxaca Vegetable Soup

Sometimes it’s hard to get enough of a good thing, and that is certainly true with Pasilla Oaxaca chiles. Every summer we run out of the small crop of these rare chiles, and celebrate when they are harvested again in the fall. They come only from the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico and combine a rich dose of smoky chile flavor with just the right level of heat- not too much. We are thrilled, because this years crop just arrived!

Use Pasilla Oaxaca in your favorite recipe for chili or vegetable soup, or try this creative Afro-Latin fusion. We’ve used both our Harissa spice blend, traditional in North Africa, and the Pasilla Oaxaca chile to season a chunky melange of carrots, zucchini, okra and black eyed peas in this satisfying fall soup. Enjoy!

Recipes

Pasilla Oaxaca Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground Harissa, divided
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dried black eyed-peas, pre-soaked
  • 1 Pasilla Oaxaca chile, whole
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced okra, fresh or frozen
  • 4 cups chopped kale

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, salt and 1 teaspoon Harissa in 1 tablespoon of oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and continue cooking until they change color and begin to sweat, about 3 minutes more. Add the apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, black eyed peas and Pasilla Oaxaca and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes until the beans begin to soften.
  4. While the soup is simmering, in a separate pan, sauté the zucchini in the remaining 1 teaspoon of avocado oil with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Harissa for 3-5 minutes until golden.
  5. Add the sautéed zucchini, okra and kale to the soup pot and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Remove the Pasilla Oaxaca before serving.

Notes

**Chef tip!** It is worth the extra effort to sauté the zucchini with some spices before boiling them in the soup pot. This allows the flavors to be fully absorbed by the zucchini, and creates a nice texture too.

https://www.silkroaddiary.com/pasilla-de-oaxaca-vegetable-soup/

oaxaca_soup_2

Pasilla Oaxaca are traditional in molé sauces, rellenos and salsas but are also SUPER easy to use whole if you want fabulous flavor in your next hearty fall soup. Just drop one in and remove before serving…like a bay leaf!

 

zucchini_harissa

 

Categories: Africa, Course, Global Cuisines, Latin America, Main Meals, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Soups and Stews | 2 Comments

Get Your Sausage-Making on with Chorizo Bomb!

Chorizo is great on the grill!

World Spice Merchant’s new Chorizo Bomb spice blend  has been a favorite of our restaurant clients for years, so it was no surprise that it started flying off the shelves as soon as we started offering it to our retail family. This versatile blend can be used to make a Mexican-style chorizo, or even a North African-style merguez sausage, as links or patties. It pulls double, triple, and quadruple duty as a great grill seasoning, taco and fajita spice, or in simple beans and rice. A little smoky from the Pasilla Oaxacas, sweet smoked paprika, and Chipotle flakes, a little herbaceous from the generous dose of oregano, thyme, and marjoram, and a bit sweet from the Hungarian paprika… well, you’ll see. There’s a reason we call it the “bomb!”

So, how do you use it? We’re testing additional recipes right now, but in the meantime, here are easy patty-making recipes for both Mexican chorizo and North African mergeuz sausage. For additional inspiration, check out HuffpostTaste’s published list of the “The Best Recipes that Use Chorizo.”

P.S. If you decide to go all D.I.Y. homemade, here’s a great article explaining how to grind your own meat for patties as well as case up your sausage links: how to make your own sausage.

Mexican-style Chorizo Sausage

Mexican-style Chorizo Sausage

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground pork or turkey
  • 4 tablespoons Chorizo Bomb
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons alderwood smoked salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water or beer

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break apart your ground meat into manageable chunks.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients and blend. Add the blended ingredients to the ground meat and mix by hand.
  3. When thoroughly mixed, you will want to check to see if it's seasoned to your taste. To do so, take a little bit of the chorizo, flatten it out, then cook it in a small frying pan over medium heat until it's completely cooked through. Taste it to see if it has enough salt or seasoning. If not, then add either more salt or more Chorizo Bomb.
  4. If you like the seasoning, then you can go ahead and cook the remaining chorizo mixture or store it. The raw mixture will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but also freezes well. You can portion it into patties for breakfast and/or for burgers, or just use it in recipes.
https://www.silkroaddiary.com/mexican-style-chorizonorth-african-merguez/
North African Merguez Sausage

North African Merguez Sausage

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break apart the ground meat into manageable pieces.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients and blend. Add the blended ingredients to the ground meat and mix well.
  3. When thoroughly mixed, you will want to check to see if it's seasoned to your taste. To do so, take a little bit of the mergeuz, flatten it out, then cook it in a small frying pan over medium heat until it's completely cooked through. Taste it to see if it has enough salt or seasoning. If not, then add either more salt or more Chorizo Bomb.
  4. If you like the seasoning, then you can go ahead and cook the remaining merguez mixture or store it. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but also freezes well. You can portion it into patties for breakfast and/or for burgers, or just use it in recipes.
https://www.silkroaddiary.com/mexican-style-chorizonorth-african-merguez/

Categories: Africa, Course, Global Cuisines, Grilling Season, Hot Topics, Latin America, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Organic Grains of Paradise Connection? We Sure Hope So!

Nefisa, Amanda & Georgina

This month, World Spice Merchants was happy to host Georgina Koomsen from Ghana and Nefisa Siraj from Ethiopia. Participants in the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, both women work in the spice industry in their home countries and visited Seattle looking to connect with their peers in the United States. Lucky for us, our own Amanda Bevill was on their list.

As business leaders in their respective countries, Georgina and Nefisa are both pursuing fair trade and organic production practices. In September 2006, Georgina was the first woman and the first African ever awarded the ‘Spirit of Organic’ Award, by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements in recognition of being the most progressive organic-producing co-operative having overcome huge odds.

Are these women representative of the type of farmer co-operatives with which we’d like to partner? You bet. Ghana happens to be the world’s largest supplier of grains of paradise, a perennial herb belonging to the same family as ginger and turmeric. Georgina’s farm grows many acres this exotic and expensive spice, and we are hoping to get just a modest quantity of that deliciousness to supply customer demand and to satisfy our own desire for Grains of Paradise Peanut Soup.

This last photo shows a sampling of their wares including from left to right, dried turmeric root, nigella seed, mixed sesame seed, coriander, white sesame seed, and dried ginger root. We’re currently taste testing these and other samples provided against our current stock, and if they are superior we will be placing our first order. Either way, it was a delight to discuss trade with these two visionaries.

Is there a spice or blend that you would like to see added to our inventory? If so, please put in a comment below, and we’ll investigate adding it to our shelves.

turmeric nigella sesame grains of paradise ginger

Categories: Africa, Notes from the Field, Spice Notes | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Harissa and Vegetable Couscous

This recipe has been a long time coming. Hardly anyone who comes in to the shop — spice masters and novices alike — can pass over the North African section without some long, lingering sniffs. The spices from that region are so exotic, in their perfect union of sweet-spicy-aromatic. “How do you use the Harissa?” is one of the most common questions following the exclamations of delight, and though my fellow merchants and I have written versions of this recipe on many a business card, envelope, and scratch paper, it’s about time it took its place among our favorites here on the blog.

The tender-crisp vegetables and fluffy cous cous are a perfect vehicle for this sumptuous sauce; our version of the traditional Tunisian red pepper condiment that is so ubiquitous in Northern Africa. The cumin, coriander, and caraway add complexity and depth, with the guajillos lending just enough heat to be interesting without being overwhelming. You can also try the Harissa sauce on grilled meats or eggplant — or even on halibut!

 

Harissa and Vegetable Couscous

Ingredients

    For the Harissa:
  •  
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 12 ounce jar roasted peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground Harissa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  •  
  • For the couscous :
  •  
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 small acorn or butternut squash (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • 1 small cauliflower, florets cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ¾ cup fresh or thawed green peas
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups couscous

Instructions

    To make the Harissa:
  1. In a small saute pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add the chopped red onion, and saute until it starts to get a little color. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the tomato paste, roasted peppers, Harissa, garlic granules, 1/3 cup olive oil and red wine vinegar. Pulse until it’s still a little chunky. (You can also puree it until it’s smooth.)
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to a bowl and add salt to taste. Add the sauteed red onions and green onions and mix well.
  3. To make the Couscous:
  4. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over low heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add stock, dried apricots, squash, zucchini, cauliflower florets, chickpeas, turmeric, ginger powder and Aleppo pepper, stirring well. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, but still a bit crispy. This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the diced tomatoes, peas, cilantro and couscous. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes to cook the couscous.)
  6. Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle some of the Harissa onto the couscous, serving the rest of the Harissa on the side.

Notes

You can prepare the Harissa sauce ahead of time. Let it get to room temperature before serving. If you have any leftovers, it will keep well in the refrigerator. This works well as a condiment to any meal.

https://www.silkroaddiary.com/harissa-and-vegetable-couscous/

Categories: Africa, Course, Global Cuisines, Main Meals, Mediterranean, Sides, Snacky Bits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment