Spicy Homemade Harissa – a delicious chilli paste from North Africa will transform your everyday dishes into something just a little bit more amazing!
My obsession with Harissa began the moment I laid eyes on a recipe and it called for three different kinds of dried chillies. It was truly, love at first sight, and not in the traditional sense. I went hunting for the chillies, with names I wasn’t entirely sure I was pronouncing right. And that first taste, I swear I heard angels singing in my head.
It’s been a year since and my fridge is never without a batch. When I finish one, I soak chillies for the next.
Did you know that chillies change names when dried? Until last week, I didn’t. Jalapenos, when dried are called Chipotle. And Poblano peppers (which I’m growing right now), when ripened and dried become Ancho. I fiercely love how food keeps taking me back to school when I least expect it, and just when I think I know it all, bam!; something new and utterly fascinating.
This right here is my version of Harissa. Adapted from the Bon Appetit version, mine is spicier (I keep the seeds, thank you very much, mamma-lika-da-heat) and extra garlicky, coz life tip: when in doubt, always add an extra handful of garlic in there.
- 15 dried chiles de árbol
- 2 dried guajillo chiles
- 1 dried ancho chile
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 9-10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1½ teaspoons kashmiri chilli powder, substitute with paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked maldon salt
- ¾ cup olive oil, divided
- Water, for soaking
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the three kinds of dried chillies.
- In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, enough to submerge the chillies. Once you see tiny bubbles around the bottom and sides of the pan, remove from heat and pour over the chillies. Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring once in between to make sure the chillies are all completely submerged.
- In the meantime, in a small skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds on low heat until fragrant. Stir continuously. Do not let it burn.
- Drain the chillies (do not discard the water, save it for use in curries or soups for extra flavor) and transfer to a high powered blender. Add the remaining ingredients and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. If it has trouble blending, you may add upto 1 tbsp of the soaking water to make it easier.
- Transfer to a clean, sterile container and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Keeps well refrigerated for upto a month. Only use a clean dry spoon while scooping out what you need in your recipes. As you use, if the oil runs out, top with more olive oil to prevent spoilage.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 94mg Carbohydrates: 4g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g