Confident Cook

North African harissa and spices coat sauteed shrimp served on yogurt sauce

Sauteed Shrimp with Harissa and Yogurt Sauce
Sauteed Shrimp with Harissa and Yogurt SauceKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe (custom credit)

Serves 4

Harissa is a North-African red pepper paste of chiles, garlic, spices, and olive oil. Some cooks make it at home so they can control the heat, but it's available in jars and tubes in many well-stocked markets. Store-bought versions might be labeled "spicy" or "mild." Uses for harissa vary widely. Traditionally, it was a condiment for couscous and tagines. Vegetarians and omnivores love it with pasta and rice, dolloped on top of hummus, or as a marinade for heartier vegetables like eggplant. You can even use it as a dip or sandwich spread. Here, harissa is tossed with shrimp and lemon, then sauteed quickly with toasted caraway, coriander, and cumin. Spoon it on a cooling yogurt sauce. You get heat, irresistible flavors, and cool creamy tastes all in one dish.


½cup plain Greek yogurt
½ small cucumber, seeded and grated
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
2teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, scallion, lemon rind and juice, dill, salt, and pepper.

2. Stir well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½cup harissa paste
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
3tablespoons butter
1tablespoon caraway seed
1teaspoon ground coriander
1teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp, harissa paste, garlic, and lemon rind and juice. Toss well.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook the butter for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Add the caraway seed, coriander, and cumin. Toast the spices for 1 minute.

3. Add the shrimp to the pan in one layer. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook 1 minute on the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Spoon the yogurt sauce onto 4 plates. Top with shrimp, and serve with crusty bread or warm pita.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick