No cook Versatile Rich Tomato Marrakech Relish
Don’t run off at the sight of a long ingredients list. Its predominance mostly spices. Simple to prepare and so flavoursome. I promise you’ll be pleased you made it and it really only takes a few minutes. I’m always ridiculously proud when I make something a store would have you think impossible to us mere mortals.
Sometimes I will go into a store or restaurant and experience a recipe so striking that I have to go home and make attempts recreate it. It is a challenge I heartily accept. Nowawdays, I usually push my trolley right on by the shelves stacked with jars of pre made sauces and condiments but last week, a little jar caught my eye and beckoned me hither. A tagine paste. I accepted it’s silent call and grabbed it from lofty height. Automatically, I turned the jar over in my hand and inspected the ingredients. Wow! no unnecessary fillers or scary E numbers. I gave it place among a soft bed of spinach and pushed my trolley onwards. It was a treat! I set about mimicking it.
One of the things I love about cooking is the guess work involved, along with the measuring, sprinkling, mincing, smelling and even in a funny way the annihilation of my clear zen worktops to transform to something akin to a struck bomb, with open jars, splattered liquids amid the perfume of garden herbs. I suspect a failure to take up science and a soul that is caressed by evocative food memories is behind my kitchen puttering.
I cracked this on the second hit. The flavours are lusty and robust. Statisfying in a way that necessitates only a few brimming spoonfuls to satiate.
Ingredients (makes one jar or about a cup full)
1/2 cup soaked sun dried tomatoes (the dry kind and not in oil…if you have the oiled type then omit the sunflower oil part of the recipe)
5 garlic cloves – minced
1/2 red pepper – chopped
1 small shallot – minced
1 roughly chopped red chilli pepper (deseeded if it is a hot number)
1/4 cup roughly chopped sun dried tomato soak water (you may need less or even none at all, depending on the consistency of your tomatoes…your judgement is needed)
1/2 juice of squeezed lemon
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh mint (remove the stalk if it is woody)
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh parsley (remove the stalk it is a bit woody)
2 1/2 tsp cumin powder – I roast seeds and grind them myself so I can enjoy the smoky aroma whilst grinding in my pestle
1 tbs coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground caraway seeds
1 Tbs truffle (or walnut/olive) oil
1 Tbs sunflower oil
1/2 tsp salt (this should be enough but add sparingly according to how salty your sun dried tomatoes were)
grinding of black pepper
1. in a blender, blend the tomatoes with the red pepper to a rough paste.
2. add all the other ingredients and pulse until mix is of a thick, slightly coarse consistency. I love to leave little nibs of garlic, onion, chilli pepper and fresh herbs suspended in the paste. It adds depth and excitement in each spooned bite.
I am slathering it liberally on almost anything at the moment. I cannot get enough. Baked poppadoms are peppered with it, Raw Garlic Bread it loaded with it and veggies are turned scarlet with generous lashings of the stuff. Beans are delicious bathed in it. Avocado, potato….I could go on. I won’t.
I hope you like it as much as I do. You can also try and change up the spices to match an alternative country. Its base could be the foundation for the flavours of Italy, Mexico and Spain too. Add some pickled lime and it could whisk you away on an exotic trip to India.
India Leigh x