Harissa

Harissa
Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce/paste that is gaining popularity in other countries and cuisines including Moroccan cuisine. It is typically made from piri piri chili peppers, garlic, coriander, caraway and oil and it is actually pretty easy to make at home. Although piri piri peppers are more traditional you can use pretty much any dried red chili peppers like cayenne, chilies de arbol, chipotle, guajillo so you can make harissa with whatever chili peppers that you have available. When I was first looking for harissa I could not find it so I decided to try making my own and I have been making it at home ever since! Once you have the base form of harissa down you can play around with if by changing up the peppers for different levels of heat and flavours in addition to adding other ingredients like tomatoes or roasted red peppers. I always enjoy experimenting with harissa and pretty much every batch that I make is different! I have included the recipes for a few of my favourites below including a traditional harissa, a harissa made with fresh red chili peppers along with roasted red peppers for some sweetness to balance the fiery heat and a Mexican style salsa roja take on harissa.

I use harissa in a number of my Moroccan recipes! Check out below for a list!

Harissa

Harissa

Harissa

Harissa

Harissa

Prep Time: 10 minutes Soak Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 1

A hot red Tunisian chili pepper paste.

ingredients
  • 4 ounces dried red chilies*
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
directions
  1. Pour boiling water over the chilies, let them soak for 30 minutes and optionally remove the seeds.
  2. Puree everything in food processor or blender.

Note: Pretty much any dried red chilies work. The traditional one would be piri piri but chilies de arbol, cayenne, chipotle, guajillo, ancho, mulato, pasilla, etc. can all be used. Choose the chilies based on what's available, the desired level of heat and flavour profile and feel free to mix different chilies.

Fresh Harissa

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 1

A fiery hot red chili pepper sauce tempered with the sweetness of roasted red peppers and seasoned with spices.

ingredients
  • 4 ounces red chilies (optionally/preferably roasted)
  • 2 roasted red peppers (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
directions
  1. Puree everything in a food processor.

Harissa Salsa Roja

Prep Time: 5 minutes Soak Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 1

A salsa roja and Tunisian harissa chili pepper paste hybrid that is full of flavour and spicy heat!

ingredients
  • 4 ounces dried red chilies*
  • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
  • salt to taste
directions
  1. Pour boiling water over the chilies, let them soak for 30 minutes and optionally remove the seeds.
  2. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, onion and garlic, drizzle with oil and broil or grill until slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
  3. Puree the chilies, and roasted vegetables, cumin, coriander, caraway and paprika in food processor or blender.
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the chili pepper mixture and simmer until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Note: Pretty much any dried red chilies work. The traditional one would be piri piri but chilies de arbol, cayenne, chipotle, guajillo, ancho, mulato, pasilla, etc. can all be used. Choose the chilies based on what's available, the desired level of heat and flavour profile and feel free to mix different chilies.

7 comments:

DessertForTwo said...

I've been searching for harissa for months! I finally put it in my Amazon cart. But not anymore, I'll make it from scratch, thanks to you! :)

manu said...

I love arissa but I've never made it as I use to buy it at the supemarket.

Tieghan said...

Whoa! This is so awesome, I love that you made Harissa from scratch!! I seriously and so excited about this! Thank you!

Symone said...

I love harissa. I recently went to Tunisia and my whole concept of harissa has changed. The harissa there is quite spicy, but also so fragrant. I haven't been able to find something similar in London so am going to attempt to make my own herby harissa.

Des said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you! I can usually find harissa but I've always wanted to make it from scratch and now I can! I just love it. I can't wait to try it!

Courtney @ Neighborfood said...

I JUST got back from the grocery store after a frustrating search for harissa. No luck, so I googled it and ended up here! Thanks for this recipe! I actually have some dried ancho chilies around so I'm going to try that. Hoping to make some ezme!

Unknown said...

Symone, Tunisian harissa is the best there is, there a lot of recipies that are called harissa but they are more of a sauce and very simple in taste.

Authentic Harissa is a paste and very tasteful, spicy and versatile, try drying spanish peppers in the sun and using those

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