Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)

November 12, 2014

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)



You guys know how I love me some Sriracha.
The other day I took the “How addicted to Sriracha are you?” quiz - created by TheOatmeal - and got “100% addicted to Sriracha”.
True story.
But wait, I’m not here to annoy you with another post on the notorious rooster hot sauce; today we’re talking about Harissa.
A fiery paste used in North African cuisine that - just like its Thai cousin - is hot, complex and totally addictive.
Harissa is a blend of hot peppers, garlic, various spices and olive oil.
In North Africa it’s used as a flavor base for stews and curries, as well as a condiment to cooked vegetables and meats, and even spread on bread for a simple snack.

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)



Harissa has an incredible ability to liven up foods — I use it in all sorts of ways.
Lately I’ve eaten it with sweet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs (I know, I know, a lot of eggs), zoodles, and - last night - even with anchovies.
It’s true what they say, harissa goes well with everything (except maybe desserts.)
Back in the days I had no idea though. I really didn’t. I used to look at Harissa with suspicion.
I should actually smack the former self of mine for that.

Chiles
How many tagine with charmoula sauce did I have at Cafe’ Mogador that were begging to be enriched with their homemade spicy Harissa?
Stupid me. Eating tagine like I thought I knew what was what.
Now I’m making up time for all the lost harissa, by slathering it on everything.

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)
You can get harissa in tubes or small jars, but the homemade version tastes much fresher.
That’s why I decided to make it at home.
Harissa varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, as well as by city and country, but in its most basic form, is made with dried chiles, garlic, salt, and lots of olive oil.
Then you can add some caraway seeds, coriander, cumin, dried mint, depending on your preference.
In this version, I’ve brightened the flavors by adding a teaspoon of vinegar.
Thick yet smooth, harissa pairs well with all sort of proteins, starches and vegetables.
It goes on everything!

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Paste)                                              Print this recipe!
Adapted from The New York Times

Note. Wear rubber gloves to stem and seed the chiles. Be also very careful not to touch your eyes or sensitive skin while you're dealing with chiles.

Ingredients
Yields about 1 cup

2 oz / 57 gr dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded*
2 oz / 57 gr dried Anaheim chiles (or pasilla chiles) stemmed and seeded*
5 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
¼ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons fine grain salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for topping

*if you can’t find these specific chiles use whatever hot dried chiles you can find.

Directions

Place chiles in a bowl and cover with hot (or boiling water). Place a small plate (or a lid) over the chiles to keep them submerged in the water.
Soak for 30 minutes, up to one hour, and drain.
In the bowl of a food processor add garlic cloves. Process until it is all chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl. Stop and with a spatula scrape down the sides.
Add chiles, ground caraway seeds, coriander, cumin, dried mint, vinegar and salt. Process until everything is chopped and scrape down the sides.
Process again, and with the machine running add 2 tablespoons of water and the olive oil.
Process until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
Transfer paste to a jar. Wipe the inside edges of the jar with a paper towel and cover the harissa with a film of olive oil.
Refrigerate, topping off with more oil after each use. The harissa will keep up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Nutrition facts

One teaspoon yields 33 calories, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

25 comments:

  1. This looks smokin' hot and just how I like it! Great pic with the jar, too. I love to add orange peel and whirl that in the mix for mine. Adds a little citrus zip to the heat. Like your mint addition. Have a good one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding orange zest sounds like a great idea. I should try that!

      Delete
  2. I have yet to try harissa - Mike - your pictures, recipe and description are making me feel like a nitwit for procrastinating so long!
    P.S. - how bout a cauliflower and harissa crust dessert pizza? last time I tried it - chili, cumin and dark chocolate went so well together...just saying... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait, what? You haven't tried harissa? And on top of that you eat beets...
      How come we're still friends? :/

      Delete
  3. I would literally put this on everything, love the flavors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should literally put Harissa on everything, it's that awesome!

      Delete
  4. I love cooking with harissa paste but always have just bought mine from the store. Definitely need to make it myself.. your homemade version looks incredibly flavoursome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so easy T, you should totally try making it!

      Delete
  5. Hi Mike, love harissa, this looks like a great recipe. You are on a roll here. Pinned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on a harissa roll C! Wait, that didn't come out as I hoped...

      Delete
  6. Oh man I gotta make this! Haha I'm totally 100% addicted to sriracha, I am the meme of the stick man injecting it into his veins!

    ReplyDelete
  7. ha! I love TheOatmeal, have been a subscriber for a long time!

    I am the daughter of my Dad - the man who could bite into the hottest peppers as if they were candy....Therefore, Sriracha love runs in my genes....

    never made harissa from scratch, but used to enjoy it by the spoonfuls in a particular couscous restaurant in Paris.... (your posts tend to make me dream of wonderful scenes of my past)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Oatmeal is the best. I should write a post about my addiction to it...

      Delete
  8. This looks Amazingly delicious and spicy - just the way I like it. Love the colours and ingredients. I recently made a Lao sweet and spicy hot sauce, but I would love to try and make this one too. Thanks for sharing it. Best wishes! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lao sweet and spicy hot sauce? I want to hear all about it!

      Delete
  9. I'm a fan of harissa...but I've never even thought about making a homemade version. And adding it to sweet potatoes? Now that sounds like pure genius...the flavor combo would go so well together. Another homerun, my friend! #WolfpackEats

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude, sweet potatoes with harissa is the shiz. A total homerun indeed ;)
      #WolfpackEats

      Delete
  10. Wow, this stuff sounds amazing! I was admiring your chicken recipe with this, but realized I had no idea what harissa was. My favorite lunch lately is scrambled eggs with cheese in a tortilla, and I bet this would be amazing in there as well. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks fantastic! I'm thinking of making Harissa as gifts for the upcoming holiday. Any suggestions/words of advice for scaling up the recipe? Also, any thoughts on using a blender for this? I have a mini food processor and a full size blender, so I'm not sure which one to use. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Any chili paste has a permanent place in my heart! I've never made sriracha or harissa from scratch before, good thing you've got recipes for both - I'd better get started! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks great and spicy I have to do this recipe. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dude, I was just over at your sticky harissa chicken and was like... Mike must have made his own Harissa. Yup, of course he did. 'Cus this dude is legit!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think ingredients list are perfect written, thanks for recipe. Eliza

    ReplyDelete