Red Chili Paste
This seasoning is based on harissa, the Moroccan chili paste. Using different kinds of chili will give the sauce different flavors. New Mexican chili gives the warmest, richest flavor, in my opinion.
Use this paste to flavor a sauce for couscous or to stir into other sauces and soups where a little extra punch is needed. If your palate has high heat tolerance, you can spread it on toasted bread or tortillas and then add cheese or avocado. Stir a little into a salad dressing or scrambled eggs; work a spoonful into some butter and use it on grilled corn or onions. This paste is versatile, and it keeps more or less indefinitely.
Suggestion: If you’re using whole dried chilies, such as ancho or pasilla chilies, use 1 ounce in place of the ground chili. Remove the stems, seeds, and veins, add just enough boiling water to cover, and soak for an hour. Once the chili is soft, purée it in a blender with the soaking liquid; then add it to the garlic paste.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Equipmentmortar and pestle
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturehot & spicy, spiced
Type of DishCondiments
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ cup New Mexican or other ground red chili
- ¼ cup water, approximately
- Light olive oil or sunflower seed oil
Pound the garlic and spices in a mortar until they are fairly well pulverized; then add the chili and stir in enough water to make a thick paste. Season with a pinch of salt; then pack the paste into a small jar, cover it with a thin layer of oil, and store it in the refrigerator.
1990 Deborah Madison