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, slathered all over chicken before I roast it, 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 weeks 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.
This simple and addictive recipe comes courtesy of Orly Olivier, a very good cook.
- Makes about 2 cups
- 24 dried guajillo chilies
- 4 dried chilies de árbol
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- Olive oil
- Place both 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 15 minutes. Drain the chilies.
- Cut the stems off the chilies, and shake them to release the seeds and water. Place the chilies, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, and a ¼ cup of olive oil into a food processor and grind. 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.
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