Pepper, garlic, and spices are used to create an amazingly deep flavored chili sauce called harissa. Originating in Tunisia, this North Africa pepper sauce is also common in Libya, Algeria and Morocco. Used as an ingredient in goat or fish stew, harissa is also used in lablabi, a chickpea soup usually eaten for breakfast, and to flavor couscous. In addition the paste like pepper sauce makes an excellent rub for meats and eggplant. In regions like Tunisia that experience extreme temperatures and have little refrigeration, hot pepper paste is believed to act as a preservative for meat.
Recipes vary for harissa vary according to the household and the region. Ingredients can include cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander, and lemon juice. Saharan versions of the sauce are made with peppers that give it a smoky flavor.
Peppers, garlic, and spices are used to create an amazingly deep flavored chili sauce called harissa.
- 10-12 dried red chili peppers
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 – 45 minutes. Drain. Remove stems and seeds (I kept about half of the seeds to add heat).
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.
Store harissa in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar.
I find it very helpful to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.