Recipes for harissa 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 flavour, but the basic recipe calls for hot peppers, garlic, salt, and lots of olive oil.
What you need?
8-10 dried chiles of your choice
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
Optional additions: fresh lemon juice, preserved lemon, fresh or dried mint, fresh cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, cayenne, paprika etc… as per your choice and availability
How to Make the Paste
Soften the chiles. Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Then toast all the spices. While the chiles are soaking, toast the caraway, coriander, and cumin in a dry skillet over low-medium heat, occasionally shaking or stirring to prevent burning. When the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan and keep aside to cool off a bit and then grind them in a course powder
Drain the chiles, and reserve the liquid for later use
Combine the chiles with spices, garlic, and salt. Combine the chiles, ground spices, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process to form a smooth and thick paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. If a thinner paste is desired, blend in a little of the chile soaking liquid until the paste has reached your desired texture.
The flavor of the harissa will deepen over the next day or two, but you can taste it now and add more salt or other optional ingredients ( as mentioned above ) to your liking.
Store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to a month, adding a fresh layer of olive oil on the top each time you use the harissa.
Roasted vegetables in Harissa Paste : Ingredients
- 2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice – I took Bell Peppers, Courgettes (Zucchini), Aubergines, Olives, and some Potatoes
- 1 tbsp Harissa Paste
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Seasoning as per your choice – I took some Oregano and Black Pepper
How to Make
Spread olive oil and some salt over the chopped vegetables generously and mix well with hands or spatula
Transfer to a baking dish and bake in an oven for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables turn a bit soft
Take the tray out, and with spoon mix the Harissa Paste and seasoning well with the veggies.
Keep inside the oven to cook again for 20-25 minutes, serve warm with CousCous or any Salad.
For a very mild harissa, you may use roasted red bell peppers too with the chilies. You can also use a mix of fresh and dried chiles.
If your mouth burns after eating harissa, or any other hot sauce, drink plenty of milk or yogurt. Drinking water tends to make thing worse, not better 😉
Because harissa paste is water-based, it will won’t keep for long periods, even if refrigerated. Keeping the surface covered with oil helps to prolong its life a little.
Once made, only bottle what you are likely to consume within 1 month. refrigerate and always ensure that it is well covered with oil.
Divide the remaining harissa paste into freezer bags about the same size as your fridge bottle and freeze.