This Tunisian chilli paste is incredibly delicious and satisfyingly versatile. Akin to Sambal Oelek (Malaysian), Gochujang (Korean) and Sriracha (Thai), it adds an incredible depth of flavour and moreish heat to dishes. Chillies, garlic, spices and olive oil – that’s it. Feel free to embellish as you see fit; lemon juice, rose water, bell pepper, tomato puree and additional spices are all fairly common.
- 100g dried chillies – whichever variety or mix you like
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 75ml olive oil
Carefully remove the stems and seeds* from your chillies and soak them in hot water until softened. Drain, reserving some of the liquid.
Toast the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds briefly in a dry pan (watching them like a hawk) to release their natural oils and fragrant aroma. Once cooled, grind the spices to a powder with the salt.
Place the chillies, garlic and a splash of the chilli water in a food processor and blend. Add the spices and blend further whilst drizzling in olive oil. Add more of the chilli water to loosen if required.
Try it as a condiment or in a plethora of other dishes; it works wonderfully with meat, fish, eggs, mayonnaise, all sorts.
You can store your harissa in the fridge for a few weeks under a layer of oil or preserve it by sterilising and canning.
*If you leave the seeds in (as I have done..) it will turn out orange instead of the luxurious deep red, and all be literally hotter than the sun.