Harissa – so easy you wonder why you’re still buying it
Back in the day, when you would give me a dish with some chili in it, I would start sweating immediately. Runny nose and everything. You know the drill. But in the course of the years that has changed a bit and I’m starting to like spicy more and more. Not that I am any competition for the real chili eaters out there, but I am trying! And when you like spicy food, you need a spicy mixture to prepare that food. Harissa is easy to find in supermarkets these days and that is not too bad really. But I had decided I wanted to make my own mixture at least once. And I was so surprised at how incredibly easy it was to make!! The recipe is from the book A month in Marrakesh by Andy Harris
Ofcourse it would be a given that you put chili in the dish but I did not expect the base of harissa to be so simple. It’s almost the same as making your own chutney. You think it’s complicated until you try!
Harissa is originally from Tunesia and is used a lot in the countries in Northern Africa. It’s used for making soups, sauces and merguez. I like to use harissa as a bit of marinade for over meat. Great with chicken or beef skewers!
This recipe makes roughly 500 grams of harissa
- 75 gr dried hot chili peppers seeds removed
- 6 garlic cloves peeled
- 3 tbsp of salt
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus a bit extra for sprinkling on top
Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for an hour. Leave to drain and put into a blender or stickblender. Add the garlic and salt and blend until you have a coarse paste. Add olive oil and lemonjuice and put the paste into a sterilized jar.
You can also use fresh chillies or do them half and half like I did. The dried chilies that I used were smoked which gives it an extra depth of flavor.
You can also add other flavors such as for instance cumin, corianderseeds, mint etc.