Recipe type: Condiments, Spice Paste
Cuisine: North African, Middle Eastern
This is my recipe for harissa and I love the spicy, warm, nuanced notes in this delicious sauce. I had a large bag of fresh hot chili peppers that I bought for a bargain at the farmers' market, so that’s what I normally use in this recipe. You can, however, use all milder dried red chilies and Mexican chilies like guajillo or papilla. You will need to seed and rehydrate dried chilies in warm water before using them, as it makes them easier to blend. Harissa will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks, covered with a thin layer of oil.
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 5 dried pasilla peppers
  • 5 smoked and dried chipotle peppers
  • Hot water, to soak the chilies
  • 20 to 25 fresh red-hot chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 5 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon plain or sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus extra, if required
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice the cheeks of the red pepper, and place in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once, then skin and keep aside.
  2. While the pepper is roasting, stem and seed the dried pasilla and chipotle chilies, and place in a bowl. Cover with hot water and soak for 30 minutes. Once soaked, drain and reserve the soaking water.
  3. Stem and slice the fresh hot peppers into halves. Discard the seeds, then place the chilies in a blender or food processor.
  4. Heat a heavy-duty pan over a medium high heat. Toast the cumin and caraway seeds for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Take off the heat, let cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice blender or an old coffee grinder.
  5. Add the roasted sweet pepper, soaked dried chilies, the ground cumin and caraway seeds, garlic, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and the olive oil to the food processor or blender, and blend to a fine paste, using the reserved soaking water, if required, to loosen the sauce.
  6. Season to taste with salt and extra red wine vinegar, if needed.
  7. Store in an airtight jar, covered with a thin film of olive oil.
Recipe by Food Bloggers of Canada at https://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/one-curious-ingredient-harissa/