I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

May 11, 2010

Tunisian Aijjah with Spicy Potatoes (p. 94) and Harissa (p. 279)

You should be making these recipes right now, as you read them. Seriously -- delicious.

Tunisian aijjah is the North African version of a frittata, though it's really more like scrambled eggs. It's generally served with a traditional North African spicy sauce called harissa, which I also made.

I made the harissa first, because it's used in the aijjah recipe. To make, you need a ton of different kinds of chilies with different levels of spiciness. I used New Mexico, ancho, and arbol chilies. These have their stems and seeds removed and are left to soak in hot water for at least a half an hour. When you return to them, open the chillies and remove their softened pulp with a spoon. It's a messy process, and if you have a paper cut, as I did, it will sting like crazy. You then might put your cut finger in your mouth to quell the pain only to have your mouth on fire. Such is working with chilies.

While the chilies were softening, I roasted coriander seeds and cumin (the actual recipe calls for cumin seeds, but I didn't have them) and then put them in a mortar to combine with salt and garlic. Once these were all pounded together, I added the chili pulp and olive oil. Ta da! Harissa.

To make the aijjah, sauté diced new potatoes in olive oil until they have softened.

Grind together salt and garlic (and caraway seeds if you have them, which I didn't) to make a gritty paste. Combine tomato puree (there was zero explanation about how to arrive at said puree, so I just food processed a tomato and assumed that would do the trick) with warm water, and combine this with some harissa and the garlic mixture.

Stir this in with the potatoes and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed or reduced to a red sauce covering the veggies.

In a large bowl, beat eggs together and then stir in the potatoes. Put this all back on the stove and cook in pretty much the same way you would make scrambled eggs.

According to the cook book, Tunisians will add another spoonful of harissa to their aijjah, so we did too. We also gave ourselves a spoonful of sour cream, because we're not Tunisian, we're American. Southern, even.

So, make both of these. We definitely will again. Also, the harissa keeps well in the fridge, and is good on meats, veggies, and even just on bread.

ancho chillies -- $4.99 (2 left)
New Mexico chillies -- $4.99
arbol chillies -- $4.99 (lots and lots left)
Total Cost for Harissa: $14.97 (with plenty left for other recipes)

potatoes -- $1.83
eggs --$1.68 (I got a 12 pack but only used 4)
Total Cost of Tunisian Aijjah with Spicy Potatoes: $3.51 (one serving left)

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.