Harissa is a traditional side with Moroccan and North African food. It is a potently spicy sauce, with the main ingredient being a lot of Hot Peppers. I make this very often for quite a few reasons. It is very easy to make, & the Harissa added to about anything charges up the taste. Add it to rice, salads, dips, couscous or any other sauce or sides and you have a tongue tickling sensational taste.
I have used Hot peppers here, but if you do need to make it less spicy, substitute the amount of hot peppers with roasted, & peeled red bell peppers.
Ingredients: (makes about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup dried red chile peppers
- 1/4 cup garlic, cloves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- sea salt or any coarse salt to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves ( or any other herb you want to use – optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree (optional… to make it less spicy)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Remove the stems from the chilli peppers if any and soak in water for 15-20 minutes, then drain. Reserve the water. (If you do not want the Harissa too spicy, you may remove the seeds of the chili peppers).
In a dry skillet lightly toast the cumin, caraway and the coriander seeds, only for a couple of minutes until just fragrant. Watch that they do not turn dark or burn. Cool the toasted seeds.
Place all the ingredient in a blender or food processor and process it until smooth but not absolutely pureed. OR place all ingredients in a mortar & pound with a pestle until smooth. If it feels too dry, add a few teaspoons of the pepper soaked water, a little at a time, only as much required to make a thick paste. (try not to use any water, as it stays longer in the refrigerator if no water in used)
Store in a clean dry container topped with the rest of the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Allow it to sit for a couple of days for the flavors to infuse and mature.
Will stay in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.