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Cooking with Belazu Ingredients

Since so many of us are working from home these days, it is the perfect time to expand your skills as a home chef. We recently began importing products from the Belazu Ingredient Company, which specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients such as harissa and preserved lemons. While these ingredients are not that common in our country, they are great ways to create simple flavored-packed dishes and do it with a minimum of fuss.

Harissa and preserved lemons are condiments common in cuisines of North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Harissa is a paste made from chili, garlic, oil, and other spices. We are importing three different Belazu harissa recipes: Rose Harissa, Apricot Harissa, and Smoky Chilli Harissa. Preserved lemons are simply lemons preserved in a salt brine so that the entire lemon is edible minus the seeds. They add an intense lemony salty flavor to foods that go well with savory dishes. The Belazu Beldi Lemons are a bit smaller than others and have less peel or pith.

Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite for these ingredients.

Burrata or Stracciatella Cheese with Preserved Lemon & More

David had this in a restaurant in Greenpoint Brooklyn last year named Chez Me Tante and was amazed at how good this unlikely combination tasted.  Stracciatella (or Burrata which is more easily available) cheese with Marcona almonds, preserved lemons, and currents, served with garlic-rubbed bread is a combination of different flavors that somehow meld beautifully together. He has recreated this many times and has included capers and roasted red peppers a little bit of fruity olive oil. You too can be creative with this combination.

  • Burrata or Stracciatella Cheese 8 oz
  • 3 tablespoons of dried currents plumbed in some hot water, drained
  • 1/4 cup Marcona  almonds
  • 3 or so Belazu Preserved Lemons chopped coarsely without seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic for the bread
  • To add more flavors, add roasted pepper strips, and capers.

Assemble in layers and pour olive oil over the top. Serve with toasted bread rubbed with garlic and enjoy as an appetizer.

Beef Steak with Harissa with Tomato, Pepper, and Lemon Sauce

This is preparation is based on a recipe in the sophisticated cookbook SIMPLE by Yotam Ottolenghi (page 224). In this recipe, Rose Harissa is used to marinate the steak. We cooked the bells peppers and steak on the grill and it worked out very well and we were able to do everything in about 40 minutes. The harissa gave the steak a herbal flavor with very gentle heat. The tomato sauce made with yellow peppers and preserved lemon was the perfect complement to the steak and made for a very delicious low-carb dinner. The acidity of the preserved lemon in the tomato mixture added an unexpected flavor that really added to flavors of the grilled steak

  • Beef Steak – 1-2 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon Belazu Rose Harissa
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 Large Yellow Bell Peppers  cut into wide strips
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 28oz can of diced peeled tomatoes
  • 0.5 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 small preserved lemon with seeds removed
  • 0.5 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon sliced for serving
  1. Salt and pepper and steak and rub on Belazu Rose Harissa and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  2. Grill the yellow bell peppers for about 10 minutes so the skin is charred. Once cool, remove the charred skin from the peppers and slice into small pieces.
  3. In a medium frying pan fry the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add can of tomatoes with juice, paprika, and salt and petter. Cook for 7 minutes
  4. Add peppers, preserved lemon and chopped parsley to the tomato mixture and cook for another 7 minutes.
  5. Grill the steak for about 5 minutes on a side to medium-rare. Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes.  
  6. Slice the steak and serve with the tomato mixture, garnish with fresh lemon. 

Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka with Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa

This recipe is based on a recipe from the cookbook East Bay Cooks (page 150) by Carolyn Jung and originates from the spice aficionados behind the outstanding Oakland Spice Shop. Shakshuka is a middle-eastern dish that includes poached eggs and is usually made with bell peppers but this recipe uses eggplant instead. This dish makes for a simple one-skillet vegetarian dinner or a flavorful brunch dish. We prepared this dish with Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa instead of making the harissa chili paste from scratch as outlined in the cookbook recipe.

Recipe for Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka with Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa
Recipe for Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka with Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa
Recipe for Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka with Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Belazu Smoked Chilli Harissa
  • 1 large can of peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 4 large eggs
  • Cilantro leaves for Garnish
  1. Slice the eggplant into 0.25-inch slices. Salt the eggplant slices and let it sit for about 20 minutes and drain. Rinse the salt off the slices and pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit. Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides and place slices on a baking sheet. Bake the eggplant for about 8 minutes on either side. 
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add slides onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, eggplant, and Belazu Smoked Chili Harissa. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes.
  4. Make four indents in the sauce, and carefully add eggs to each, and salt each egg. Simmer covered for about 3 minutes until eggs are poached but still have runny yolks.
  5. Garish with cilantro and serve with crusty bread.

These recipes are just a tease for these ingredients, there are many uses and they are very easy ways to add flavor to all sorts of dishes. Harissa is a versatile ingredient to add to roasted veggies such as carrots or to make a fast and hearty chicken stew in the Instapot.

Curious to learn and taste more? Stop by our store or order Belazu products online from our website.

Gift featuring Belazu Products
In our catalog, we have this gift that features the Belazu ingredients mentioned in this post as well as the Ottolenghi SIMPLE cookbook.


Popcorn as a Blank Canvas for Flavor

The popcorn season is on now with the Superbowl and Oscars coming up. I like to think of popcorn as a canvas ready to sample spices or flavors or a way to experiment with intriguing flavor combinations. Sometimes the flavors might be sweet or salty or have a certain ethic angle. Just put some Garam Masala (a blend of cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, and more) in with buttered popcorn and you create a delicious snack with an Indian accent. Another easy way to create flavored popcorn is to pop your corn using a flavored oil such as a garlic-infused or truffle-infused oil.

Our store in Chelsea Market stocks plenty of condiments and spices that can act as vibrant colors for your popcorn canvas. With just a few ingredients and a few tests, you can create popcorn that has the right amount of flavor, sweetness, and salt to rival your favorite packaged popcorn snacks.

Here is a recipe for sweet and spicy popcorn that I have made many times, and I feel it hits all the spiciness and sweetness notes.


  • Popping Corn: We like Amish Country Popcorn which we carry in our store!
  • W&P Popcorn Popper (Make microwaving even easier with this handy tool)
  • Jacobsen Co. Smoky Honey Sauce (about 3 tablespoons) Can use hot or truffle honey but I like the smoke!
  • Smoked Pimenton Paprika (about 1 teaspoon) from Burlap and Barrel… can use more ordinary paprika which is smoked but we like Ethan and what he is doing!
  • Sea Salt: We used one from Iceland Saltwerk which is flaky, more delicate and Iceland is cool these days
  • Some better butter (about 3 tablespoons): Use your favorite brand

After popping the corn, melt the butter, honey, and paprika in a separate microwave-safe dish; toss with popped corn; salt to taste; and presto!

We have a store full of options for creating fantastic popcorn snacks. Have any popcorn ideas to share? We are always interested in new ways to enjoy good old-fashioned popcorn.


Chelsea Market Baskets is hosting its bi-weekly tasting series from October 24th through December 5th. Stop by and taste what’s new and exciting in CMB’s pantry! Each program will be on a Thursday evening and be one hour, and there will be a warm-up reception starting at 6pm.

Honey with Ruth (HoneyGramz) – Thursday, Oct. 24th, 6 pm

NYC Beekeeper & Entrepreneur Extraordinaire – The Geography of Honey & Honey Related Products

Ruth Harrigan harvests raw and pure honey from beehives in Douglaston, Queens and an organic farm on Staten Island. She began beekeeping in 2010 when the Bloomberg administration legalized the practice of beekeeping in NYC. What started as a hobby and curiosity for beekeeping, has grown into a passion project and her business, HoneyGramz.

Honey with Ruth will be an exploration of the senses with tastings of a variety of raw honey nuanced with stories of Ruth’s journey as a beekeeper. She will share tips on how to use her products as well as how we can help our bees help us. Bees’ pollination is an important part of plant life and there continues to be a large-scale loss of bees across the globe.

Spices with Ethan (Burlap & Barrel)
Thursday, Nov. 7th, 6 pm

Ethan Frisch of Burlap & Barrel

Holiday Entertaining, Spices with Ethan – A Spice Whisperer

Burlap & Barrel’s co-founder, Ethan Frisch, sources single-origin spices from around the world: Egypt, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and elsewhere. Their mission is to use traditional harvesting and drying methods while incorporating farm-to-table values to the international spice

Ethan will take us through his personal favorite spices and stories about how they were discovered along the way with simple methods to put them to good use for Thanksgiving and Holiday entertaining. He will delve into the origins of spices, and spice trade, and why fresh spices are almost always better than the spices that have been sitting in the kitchen cabinets for years. During the session, he will create a custom holiday spice mix.

Tea & Chocolate (Vahdam Teas & Elements Tuffles)
Thursday, Nov. 21th, 6 pm

Tasting course on the Harmony of Two of our Favorite Foods

Alak Vasa and Kushal Choksi from Elements Truffles and Adamya Sharma from Vahdam Teas will take us on a tasting tour of their favorites and then discuss how, when, and why Chocolate and Tea can be enjoyed together.

Elements Truffles is an Ayurveda inspired line that prides itself on being a human-centric company, where people come first. Twenty-five percent of their profits go to supporting the education of underprivileged children in tribal areas of India. Their chocolates made in Kearny, New Jersey are handmade with just cacao and honey. In addition, they are infused with Ayurveda Superfoods and pure essential oils, enhancing their flavor profile and melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Vahdam Teas are Indian tea merchants who work closely with farmers and have a broad assortment of traditional and more contemporary blends of loose-leaf tea. Adamya Sharma will present a selection of Vadham teas to compliment Elements Truffles.  

Ethan and David Stock Your Pantry for the Holidays – Cancelled!
Thursday, Dec. 5th, 6 pm

This event has been canceled.

Ethan Frisch, founder of Burlap and Barrel, and, David Porat, founder of Chelsea Market Baskets, help you stock your pantry with essential ingredient for making holiday entertaining both easy and exciting!

They will include some of their favorite ideas and ways to use ingredients stocked at home to make entertaining easy, memorable, and delicious.

Reserve a Spot Now for One or all the Tastings

Registration is required and there are limited spaces available. To register, RSVP with Angelica (646-839-5029 or rsvp@cmb.nyc) or use the form below. There is a $25 charge per class or purchase all four for a special price of $75. Each class will include an array of tastings plus a parting gift so that you can savor the experience beyond that evening.