A staple ingredient in North African cuisine, particularly in Algeria, Libiya and Tunisia, North African Blend has also been steadily gaining in popularity in other Arab countries - most notably Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. In these North African regions it is used as a table condiment much like we would use ketchup, salsa or Tabasco. Here in the US if you are familiar with North African Blend you’ve probably seen it sold in a tube or a jar already mixed.
Undoubtedly the most classic use of this North African staple is in Merguez au Harissa, a zesty lamb sausage with a healthy dose of North African Blend served in a fresh roll. This spicy treat has become quite popular as a Paris street food as well.
In Tunisia, North African Blend is used to flavor couscous or to season meat (typically fish, lamb or goat) in stew with vegetables. It is also commonly found in a breakfast soup made with chickpeas. Europeans use it as a breakfast spread on rolls or tartines. In the US North African Blend finds its way into and onto pasta, pizza and sandwiches. Also provides a delightful and complex flavor when used as a rub for chicken or steak.
Just because it’s sold in a jar or a tube doesn’t mean that’s the only way to get your fix of North African Blend. Recipes for North African Blend vary according to the region and even down to the family. Some variations have a bit more heat, some are smokier and some a little tart with hints of lemon.
We prefer to start with this spice blend and add a dash or two of hot water to create a paste then mix in some top grade olive oil to create your own delicious North African Blend “sauce”. It's certainly good to go at this stage but for maximum flavor we prefer to our North African Blend the day before we want it as this allows the flavors to fuse and deepen. This creates a sauce that has some delicious heat but also some tremendous complexity.
Serving Size 1 Teaspoon, Amount Per Serving: Calories 5.1, Fat Cal. 1.8g, Total Fat 0.2g (0% DV), Sat. Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g (0% DV), Cholest. 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0.7mg (0% DV), Total Carb. 1g (0% DV), Dietary Fiber 0.4g (2% DV), Sugars 0.1g, Protein 0.2g (0%DV), Vitamin A (5.6% DV), Vitamin C (1.5% DV), Calcium (0.7% DV), Iron (1.8% DV), Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.