January 8, 2021 by D.Fathia
A brief history:
What is harissa? Even though this spicy paste is now consumed by nearly a quarter of the world population, many people still have no idea that it exists. Harissa is more than just a condiment. It can be a dish by itself with no additives.
Harissa originates in Tunisian cuisine. Though no archives have recorded the first emergence of the spicy blend on Tunisian soil, different sources mention the Spanish colonization in 1535. It is more likely that the Moriscos fleeing to Africa at the time brought along this sizzling spice and integrated it into the local cooking habits. With time, it gained a reputation among North African eating customs and it soon became part and parcel of these countries' diets.
There now various harissa varieties, each one corresponds to one of the Maghreb's regions. The Libyans developed a super sweet harissa paste. They usually use mild peppers to avoid the hot taste. The Algerian variety is a unique condiment too. According to food columnist and cookbooks' author Martha Rose Shulman, it is a distinguished blend and differs from the one produced in Tunisia. Morocco, on the other hand, uses it as a side condiment.
The Tunisian type is widely consumed and globally recognized. There exist multiple brands abiding by high-quality standards and earning international priority.
The Tunisian harissa brands:
One of the biggest exporters of this paste, Tunisian production of harissa is estimated to reach more than twenty-two million tonnes. The following is a list of the most common premade brands:
· Cap Bon
· Le Petit Paris
The Tunisian government established the Food Quality Label to protect the local variety from imitations. The label found on canned harissa bottles is a guarantee of the origin, quality, and unique recipe. Five companies are already certified and are now competing internationally for the first rankings. They are Sicam, Jouda, Comocap, Carthage food, and Sticap. This label seeks to promote the specific Tunisian recipe comprising of often baklouti chili peppers, caraway seeds, coriander, salt, and garlic. The preferred peppers for use are those grown around Nabeul and Gabes, the two cities most famous for homemade harissa. This blend, streamlined into the Tunisian genetic code, is now people's new favorite spice worldwide not only because of its super tasty nature but also because of its related health benefits.
The exclusive ingredient:
Chili pepper is the essence of the harissa paste or sauce. Archeological evidence traces the existence of this plant to Central and South America where different varieties have been cultivated for over seven thousand years. Columbus brought them to the rest of Europe beginning of the fifteenth century. Later, peppers crossed the Mediterranean and inhabited Africa and Asia. Different cuisines around the world are known for their hot and spicy food due to their heavy use of peppers in multiple forms. Though it is widely used; only a few countries have discovered the unique flavor of harissa, the ultimate pepper blend. For most people, it is the one condiment that they cannot give up on.
The rest of the ingredients, used mainly in the Tunisian recipe, contain great health benefits too. They are rich in vitamins and minerals.
In one tablespoon of harissa, there exist the following nutrients:
· Total Fat3.5grams; with exactly 0.3 grams of saturated fats and 0 grams of Trans fat.
· Cholesterol0 milligrams
· Sodium228 milligrams
· Potassium148 milligrams
· Total Carbohydrates3.8grams divided into 1.8 grams of Dietary Fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar.
· 0.9 grams of Protein includeVitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.
Calories in this paste come mainly from fat; approximately 32 calories steam from the fat of olive oil. However, you can ditch oil from your homemade harissa paste or simply order a brand that does not include oil in its recipe.
Health advantages of harissa:
Is harissa good for you? Can it have side effects? Can it be used on its own? Can people with special conditions eat this paste without fear of anything going wrong? Are you eager to know more? Keep reading to find out more.
This amazing ingredient can surprise you with its abundant benefits. One ingredient responsible for such generosity is capsaicin, an active chemical component of chilies. Capsaicin stimulates a faster work of metabolism. It can be a good deterrent to constipation so make sure to spice your food a bit. Besides, once metabolism is boosted by around eight percent, you will burn more calories than usual. Put a dose of harissa in your meals and enjoy the result of losing a bit of extra weight or at least keep it steady.
The same component can control blood pressure and keep it at low levels because it loosens up the vessels; an essential step to protect the heart from sudden strokes…etc. The heat can also help in the process of clearing up mucus from your stuffed up nose or lungs. Harissa paste can keep your blood levels of insulin under control, thus preventing type two diabetes or at least inhibit further damage.
Capsaicin can even stop the spread of prostate cancer. This has been scientifically and proved after animal testing. Chili peppers normally kill bacteria hence protecting you from stomach ulcers. Besides, this compound is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis. It is a natural pain killer that can alleviate much of your suffering.
This phenomenal mixture is rich with antioxidants which renders it quite useful in the fight against chronic diseases. These particles can eliminate dead and damaged body tissues or what is scientifically labeled free radicals leading to oxidative stress.
The different ingredients that make up this paste are full of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and copper. Those vitamins and minerals are a great boost to your immune system.
This spice is safe to eat for pregnant women, though you must pay attention to how much you eat because it can aggravate the situation if you are suffering from heartburn.