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North African Chili Paste

Updated February 23, 2016
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Cookbook

Spice

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of JosephDeLeo.cookstr.com

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.

Makes2 cups

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentblender

Taste and Texturegarlicky, hot & spicy, spiced, sweet

Type of DishCondiments

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

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