Harissa is a brick red, fiery-hot Tunisian condiment made from chilies, garlic and spices. It can be used in numerous ways—I personally like it on pretty much anything: oatmeal, scrambled eggs, soups and stews or, more traditionally, with couscous.
You can control the heat of your harissa by the quantity of chili seeds used: Add them all in if you like it super spicy, or deseed the chilies completely (cut horizontally and scrape with a knife) for a milder taste. Avoid touching your eyes and face when working with chilies, or wear kitchen gloves.
Harissa will keep for several months stored in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Smooth out the surface and add some olive oil after each use to keep it preserved.
- Makes about 2 cups
- 30 dried chillies, such as guajillo, new mexico, or california, or a mixture
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- Olive oil
- Put plastic disposable gloves on or remember not to touch your face or eyes to avoid burning. Cut the stems off the chillies and discard them. Place chilies in a big bowl, and pour boiling water over them. Make sure they are fully submerged—you can place a plate with a heavy can on top—and soak until soft, about 40 minutes. Drain the chilies.
- Place the chilies, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, and a ¼ cup of olive oil into a food processor and pulse. Scrape the sides of the food processor, and add more olive oil in a slow stream until a smooth paste forms.
- Place the harissa in a glass jar or container, smooth out the surface, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top, and refrigerate.
- After every use, make sure the surface is smooth and there's a thin layer of olive oil. The harissa will keep for minimum six months.
The recipe easily doubles.
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