North African Chili Paste
Harissa is an North African condiment or chili paste that gives a little zip to a dish. It’s fun to use instead of cocktail sauce and is delicious whisked into broths or soups with as heavy a hand as you like. It’s often used in tagine (a stew or long braise) to give the sauce a dark red, rusty color and a little or a lot of heat. There are many different versions of harissa, they can be smooth, coarse, extra hot, or very garlicky.
An Algerian chef named Michel Anik, whom I worked with at 8 Holyoke in Harvard square, taught me to use sun-dried tomatoes as a sweet concentrated tomato element, which gives the harissa a consistency similar to a thick ketchup or jam.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Taste and Texturegarlicky, hot & spicy, spiced, sweet
Type of DishCondiments
- 1 cup ground Urfa chilies
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 large cloves).
- ½ cup, sun dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for at least 1 hour
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon moroccan ras el hannout
- ¼ cup olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée them on high speed until smooth, for about 3 minutes. The harissa should be as smooth as a thick ketchup. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
2006 Ana Sortun