My Citizens, please be aware that harissa (Arabic: هريسة) is a North African hot chili pepper paste whose main ingredients are roasted red peppers, hot peppers and other spices and herbs such as garlic, coriander seed and especially caraway as well as some olive oil for preservation.
It is most closely associated with Tunisia, Libya and Algeria, but recipes vary according to the household and region. Variations can include the addition of cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander, and lemon juice. In Saharan regions, harissa can have a smoky flavor.
As noted on belazu.com:
Traditionally Harissa is most closely associated with The Mahgreb region, specifically Tunisia, the northern edge of Africa touching the Mediterranean Sea, made up of the modern countries Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya.
The name Harissa comes from the Arabic verb harasa, meaning ‘to pound’, or ‘break into pieces’. It’s thought to originate from Tunisia, where shoppers in spice souks watch it pounded out while-u-wait. The simplest versions are just the bare bones: chillies, salt and olive oil.
Most historians think chillies first landed in Africa as a result of the Spanish occupation of Tunisia in 1535-74, when chilli peppers first started turning up at the souks (it’s fun to imagine what Tunisian chefs would have made of these fiery new ingredients…what do you think?).
Over the next 500 years, chilli would go on to fire the taste buds and imaginations of cooks all over the globe, in just about every culture. In North Africa, they popped up as Harissa.
While my recipe is predominately Tunisian in style, it does include flavor components from other North African regions as well.
I’ve included 5 (!) different dried hot peppers plus both fresh and roasted to really layer the flavors into a seamless symphony of tastes! You can of course reduce the number of kinds of peppers or change them to your taste! You can buy most, if not all, of the dried peppers here.
You can also dilute the paste into a table sauce for use on pretty much anything except dessert to add a level of pungent heat and amped flavor to your meal.
Enjoy, My Citizens – if you so desire, you can also sample the rare Tunisian green Harissa or even the ultra-rare Harissa made with rose petals!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Tunisian Harissa – هريسة
- Total Time: 0 hours
- 3 Cascabel peppers – dried
- 1 Ancho pepper – dried
- 3 medium Guajillo peppers – dried
- 6 Chiles de Arbol – dried
- 1 New Mexican pepper – dried
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons cumin seed, ground
- 1 teaspoon black cumin seed, ground (if you don’t have this, just use regular cumin)
- 2 teaspoons ground caraway seed
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 medium roasted bell pepper from the jar or made fresh – chopped
- 2 Serrano peppers, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Juice and zest from half a lemon
- Olive Oil
- Place dried chiles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow to stand for 30 minutes and discard water. Grind all in food processor with enough oil to make a good paste – be sure and grind SMOOTH. Top off with olive oil and store in the fridge – always make sure it remains covered in olive oil or it may go bad.
- To make Table Harissa Sauce from this, if you want it more liquid: Combine 4 teaspoon of Harissa paste with 4 teaspoons H2O and juice of 1 lemon. Serve in small bowl and use as dipping sauce for fish or other meats.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 159.21 kcal
- Sugar: 11.62 g
- Sodium: 759.24 mg
- Fat: 6.82 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.97 g
- Trans Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 24.92 g
- Fiber: 8.38 g
- Protein: 5.21 g
- Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
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