Oh Harissa the condiment that has been slowly turning up on more an more restaurant menus here in New York in many interesting ways. If you are unfamiliar with Harissa it is a traditional North African Condiment that has the same versatilitiy of everyones favorite Siracha but with a different flavor profile. NPR has a great short article about the history of Harissa here.
I love the spiciness and versatility of Harissa and since I have made it I have been using it in everything. I have a few recipes coming up in the next week or so that utilize the subtle spiciness and rich depth of flavor to the fullest. You can make Harissa as spicy or as mild as you like depending on what peppers you use in the mix. For mine I went moderately spicy with using Ancho Chilies but I would love to try a chipotle and red pepper version for a smokey spiciness.
I came up with my recipe by mixing the parts of different recipes that suited my fancy. If you want some more recipes and references for Harissa some of the ones I referenced were How to Make Harissa Paste from thekitchn.com, Harissa Recipe from Saveur.com, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi.
Makes about 1- 1 1/2 Cups
This recipe can also be found on Food 52 for an easier to print version
4oz Dried Chilies (I used Ancho)
1tsp Caraway Seeds
1tsp Coriander Seeds
1tsp Cumin Seeds
6 Cloves Garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
1tbsp Tomato Paste
about 2tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to Taste
Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder
In the large bowl place your dried chilis and cover with boiling water and cover. Let sit for 30min until the chilies are soft
While the Chilies are softening toast your spices and grind into powder
Once the chilies have sat for 30min stem and seed them and add into the food processor
Add the Garlic, Spices, Salt, Lemon Juice, and Tomato Paste to the Chilies in the food processor
Turn your food processor on low and pour in the olive oil while it is running. Only use what is necessary to make a smooth paste.
Continue running the food processor until the paste is smooth.
Transfer to a jar and enjoy!