Sweet, smoked or hot – paprika spice comes in different flavours and colours but one thing is sure we love it.
I mentioned before that I’m pretty partial to smoked paprika and as a result many of my dishes tend to include a liberal sprinkling of this heavenly spice.
Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of bell pepper or chilli pepper varieties or mixtures thereof. It is often used for flavour and colour, and turns out to be the fourth most consumed spice in the world.
Until recently I had some Spanish smoked paprika which is rather mild in heat but has a distinctive oak flavour. I’ve yet to find smoked paprika around Johannesburg and I’m always on the look out for this spice on my overseas travels. On my last trip to Austria, I finally managed to find Rigler’s, a shop in Salzburg that stocked smoked paprika – but as my luck would have it the shop was closed when we arrived on the Saturday and many shops were closed on Sunday.
On the last night before we left Vienna, an expat South African and I went out for dinner at the Vienna Naschmarkt. Lo and behold! A spice merchant with tonnes of paprika of every flavour and colour. To say I was beside myself was perhaps a bit of an understatement. I stocked up on both the sweet and smoked varieties.
I left Austria a very happy camper and very much looking forward to try out some new recipes with my new spice find. Unintended but quite interestingly, my hand luggage smelled like smoked paprika for days after returning back to South Africa.
For inspiration, paprika can be used in a variety of dishes adding just the right amount of smoky flavour and colour. Try using paprika in some of these lamb, pork, chicken, fish, vegetable or sauce recipes:
We take a break from our usual recipe posts to bring you something pretty awesome. What happens when you rig a couple of tons of herbs and spices to explosives, shoot it with high speed cameras and set the result to music?
You get The Sound of Taste from Grey London.
Several tons of black peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, cumin seeds, ginger, chilli and coriander were rigged to explode in perfect sync with a bespoke musical composition. Each explosion represents an individual piano note or chord, which when filmed at high speed, creates a surreal three dimensional sound scape.
Makes you want to go blow up your spice rack for the fun of it. Please do not try this at home.
After visiting Morocco earlier this year and receiving a tagine as a Christmas gift, we felt like something Moroccan inspired for our post gammon and turkey hangover. This Moroccan mince with couscous dish is extremely simple to make and ready in about 30 minutes.
500g beef mince
2 T olive oil
1 large onion
1 T ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
2 t ground turmeric
100g dried apricots, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
1 cup couscous
zest of 2 lemons
knob of butter
4 T fresh mint, chopped
50g unsalted cashews, toasted
Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, add onions and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
Stir in the spices, coating the onions, then add the mince and fry till brown.
Add the apricots and stock and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
Add couscous into a bowl and cover with just boiled water. Once it has absorbed all the water, fork through a knob of butter, lemon zest and mint to give it a nice fluffy texture. Season to taste.
To assemble, spoon couscous onto serving plate, pile the mince mixture on top and scatter with the cashews.
We have some Ras-el-hanout spice from Morocco which gives the dish a bit more complex flavours where up to 30 or more different spices could be in the mix, so you could use that instead of the cumin, cinnamon and turmeric suggested in the recipe. Ras-el-hanout can now be found at most good Pick-n-Pay stores.
South Africans may also have noticed some slight similarities in flavour between this Moroccan dish from North Africa and the traditional South African bobotie recipe. The kids therefore asked that we add some slices of banana and sprinkle some coconut on their portions. Nothing wrong with adding a dollop of chutney too while you’re at it.
Traditionally, Moroccans serve their couscous with seven vegetables, so if you want to bulk up the dish with some oven grilled veggies such as courgettes, red peppers, aubergines, red onions, butternut, carrots, parsnips and leeks then just chop them up, drizzle some olive oil, coat with harissa (chili kick), salt and pepper and pop them into an oven at 180 C for 30 mins or until cooked and caramelised.