Friends cooking : harissa by Yazeed and Ania, straight from Jerusalem
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Friends cooking : harissa by Yazeed and Ania, straight from Jerusalem
In Jerusalem I felt in love with… Arabic sweets, which I didn’t really like earlier. I’ve tried them before in many different places but I didn’t find them very special. Maybe I wasn’t experienced enough to appreciate this simple but exotic combination of tastes? Or maybe I was just buying them in commercial shops or cafes for tourists? They were always wrapped in plastic, which was making them a bit too dry and too sweet.

Finally, I had an opportunity to try the real homemade Arabic sweets, like harrisa and knefa (which I’m going to talk about next time). I believe it works the same as with a homemade apple pie or a cheese cake and those tarts from a bakery (I’m Polish, so for me those examples are the most obvious). Straight to the point: I say ‘yes’ to homemade Harissa!!! This dessert has the same name as a hot spice or paste made of chili.

This is the recipe by my neighbour Yazeed from Palestinian part of Jerusalem (called Shufat). We would like to share it with you. I hope that you will find it tasty!



4 cups semolina
1,5 cup shredded coconut
1 cup white sugar
3 cups of yogurt
2 tsp soda
0,5 kg white sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice

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Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the yogurt and mix it all together well. After getting a smooth dough, pour it into a pan (the mixture should be 2-3cm high). Then cut it into small square pieces (1,5×1,5cm). In the middle of each piece place a half of an almond and bake it in the oven (200°C) till it gets golden brown.

In the meantime you may prepare the syrup. Boil water with sugar till it becomes thick and smooth enough (without the sugar pieces inside).

After taking harissa out of the oven, pour carefully the syrup all over the cake and let the liquid soak into it. Especially pour it into the spaces in between the small pieces. There is no need to use all the syrup.

Sahteen! (in Arabic – Bon Appétit!)