October 31, 2019

Marak Katom With Crunchy Seeds & Harissa

Recipe: Adeena Sussman

Try this Marak Katom With Crunchy Seeds & Harissa recipe from the cookbook Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen.

Sababa cookbook Back when this root vegetable soup was having its first “moment,” you’d find a version in nearly every Tel Aviv restaurant, the only problem being that they often weren’t that great. The idea is a good one: Take all of the delicious orange vegetables of the season, combine them to your liking and blend to create a soup that’s good hot or cold, plain or accessorized with nuts and other goodies. But too many start with the idea of hiding old vegetables past their prime, and you can really taste the difference in the finished product. Use the freshest vegetables you can find, and don’t hold back on the nutty multi-seed topping and harissa.



  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 cups peeled, chopped orange vegetables, any combination of carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash you like (about 2 1⁄2 pounds total chopped)
  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk, preferably full-fat
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

Honey Harissa

  • 5 smallish whole dried hot peppers, such as chile de arbol
  • 2 large red bell peppers, or 2 whole jarred fire-roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Honey Harissa (see above), or store-bought, for serving


Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Make The Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large (at least 4-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until golden, 9 to 10 minutes. Add the orange vegetables and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, 1 3⁄4 cups (one filled empty can’s worth) water, honey, salt and turmeric, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Cool slightly, transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender or food processor), and puree until smooth, 30 seconds.

Make The Honey Harissa

  1. If you’re using fresh bell peppers and garlic, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the whole dried peppers in a bowl, cover with hot water, soak for 30 minutes, then drain and discard the water.
  2. While the chiles are soaking, arrange the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until puffed and blackened in spots, flipping with tongs halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes total.
  3. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, open the oven and throw the garlic cloves on the tray to roast along with the peppers. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, place the caraway seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds on a piece of foil and roast them in the oven until fragrant (check them starting at 3 minutes in case they toast a little ahead of schedule). Remove the spices to cool, then remove the bell peppers and garlic from the oven. Using the tongs, place the bell peppers in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the caraway, coriander and cumin to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until powdery. Uncover the bell peppers. Working over the sink, remove and discard the stems, seeds and skins (but don’t rinse the peppers!). Place the peppers in the small bowl of a food processor and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skins into the bowl along with the ground spices, paprika, soaked hot peppers (hold back on a hot pepper or two at the beginning if you’re scared of a lot of spice), lemon juice, honey and salt. Process until smooth, then transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Stored in an airtight container, the harissa will keep for up to 10 days.

Make The Topping

  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn golden and a few crackle or pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Divide the soup among bowls, swirl each bowl with harissa, and garnish with the seeds.

Excerpted from Sababa by Adeena Sussman. Copyright © 2019 Adeena Sussman. Photographs copyright © Dan Perez. Published in the United States by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.