How to make harissa (spicy North African red chili paste)

Photo Jul 05, 21 42 02Harissa – a red chili paste made of peppers, oil and spices like caraway – is one of the most popular condiments across North Africa. In Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, harissa is served as a dip alongside just about everything, from fish to cous cous to French bread.

For more on this amazing Maghrebian wonder sauce, see here.

Although it’s possible to find homemade (and squeeze-tubed) harissa in many grocery stores in the United Arab Emirates, it’s just as easy – if not better – to make it at home.

Here’s a simple recipe for very thick and very spicy harissa. Continue reading

Harissa: North African chili in a squeeze tube

IMG_7696Harissa is a bright paste of red chilies, garlic, coriander, salt, and caraway. You can make it yourself or find it in supermarkets packaged in toothpaste-like tubes, cans, or pre-made at the deli counter. Appropriately, its name is based on the Arabic word for “to pound” or “to break into pieces” – now much more easily done to the chilies by food processor than the traditional mortar and pestle method.

Known mainly as Tunisian, it’s popularly used throughout North African cuisine, especially in Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. When peppers found their way to North Africa, probably via Spanish traders, the Tunisians made peppers an integral ingredient in their dishes. While the taste for harissa has spread to other parts of North Africa, it’s still Tunisian harissa that’s most widely known and considered the most traditional.

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