Harissa is a basically North African sauce made out of varieties of hot chili pepper. Other key ingredients are bell pepper, caraway, cumin and coriander seeds and olive oil. It is most popular paste used in Tunisia, Morocco Algeria and Libyan cuisine. In India it has got popularity as condiment and paste used as rub and marinate of Meat, Fish and vegetables too. It can be mixed with hummus to make it spicy. Rub it in veggeies and make flavourfull roasted vegetables. Meat & Fish rubs goes without saying.
Next time you want to prepare Moroccan meat curry or spicy harissa potatoes, don’t search in market. You can make your own with whichever pepper is available in your city. To get the vibrant red colour it is gud to use Kashmiri Red chili these are considered as sweet chili because they are rich in colour and less hot compared to other chili available in Indian market. The ultimate result will be no less than Harissa prepared with Cayenne pepper.
Here I am giving the Harissa sauce preparation and very soon I shall share the dishes which could be prepared using this sauce. I have also used confit tomatoes which adds up the flavor and taste and also makes it little milder. Confit tomato needs slow roasting process, however I have grilled it in low heat for 20 mins. The result was good. If want very hot harissa , you may omit tomato. Traditionally, lemon juice is also used in this sauce but I purposely omitted it. I prefer it fresh lemon juice in every use. Also I feel I this way the shelf life of sauce may also increase.
- Kashmiri whole dry red chili seeded soaked in warm water 4-5
- Char grilled Red bell pepper 1
- Confit tomato or 1 tblspn grilled tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Toasted Caraway seed/Shajeera ½ tspn
- Toasted Coriander seeds ½ tspn
- Toasted Cumin seeds ½ tspn
- 2 tblspn fresh lemon juice (optional)
- ¼ cup olive oil preferably extra virgin
- Salt ½ tspn
Ingredients For confit tomato:
- 2 fat red tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- Bay leaves.
- Dry thyme ½ tspn
- Kosher salt ½ tspn
- Olive oil 1 tspn
For confit tomato, half the tomatoes. Discard the seeds. Coat the tomatoes with other ingredients and let it rest for 15 mts. Roast/Grill it in low heat till wilted not charred. Cool it and discard the skin and keep aside.
Coat the bell pepper with little olive oil and salt preferably whole . Char grill it upto blacken the outer skin. Take off the skin and keep aside.
Dry roast the cumin seeds, caraway seeds and coriander seeds along with a whole dry red chili.
In a grinder first dry grind the roasted spices. Add garlic and confit tomatoes and grilled bell pepper. Pulse it few times till to puree.
Squeez the water from chili (use hand gloves) and add to the puree. Pour half of olive oil, salt and pulse it till a puree is formed.
Transfer in a glass jar. Pour rest of the olive oil to cover it and refrigerate it for future use. Can be used for 1 month.