A peppery condiment from North Africa enjoyed by Algerians, Tunisians and now you! This easy Harissa recipe is made from jarred roasted peppers, spices and olive oil. You control the heat and tailor it to your own preference. Use this in marinades, use as a condiment or add to mayo.
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So far, Harissa is my favorite condiment in my world culinary journey and I hope you have the time to give it a try. I think you will be pleased, unless of course, you ONLY like bland food.
The first time I made this recipe, I roasted the peppers myself. It wasn’t hard but did take some time with the extra steps. If you choose to do this, you just roast peppers on a burner or under a broiler until they char and blister.
Place in a plastic bag and throw a kitchen towel on top to help them ‘sweat’. This looses the skin. Next take a crumpled piece of foil and scratch the skins off. Cut them open, remove seeds and stem and you are done.
This time I used jarred roasted peppers. I like this easy technique and now it is my go-to shortcut in the kitchen.
If you are really pressed for time you can always purchase harissa.
What is Harissa paste?
A paste that was invented in Northern Africa almost as soon as the pepper was introduced there by Spanish colonists in Tunisia. This roasted pepper paste is mixed with local spices which differ from house to house.
Each family has their own recipe either because of preference or whatever pepper or spices they have on hand.
Common spices include cumin, coriander, black pepper, garlic and caraway seeds.
How hot is Harissa paste?
That depends on you.
A lot of Harissa recipes use hot peppers but there is so much heat in the spice mixture I like to use mild peppers. If you are a fan of high Scoville scores, feel free to use Thai Prik Kee Noos, Ghost Peppers, Serranos, Jalapeños etc. For us, it’s Sweet Bell Peppers and Anaheim chiles.
You can also adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the red pepper flakes. Since peppers have different levels of heat, even in the same family, if you want a more consistent heat level with each batch, this may be the way to go.
The way the recipe is written below will yield a medium hotness similar to a med-hot salsa. If you want hotter, change your peppers or red chile flakes. If you want milder, use half of the red pepper flakes in this recipe.
How to use Harissa paste
My favorite use for this condiment is in any egg dish. You just add as much as your preference to scrambled eggs, egg burrito, egg sandwich…..SO easy.
Also try adding some to mayo or ranch dressing, this will give some oomph to your sandwich, wrap or salad.
Harissa paste is great as a marinade or added to existing marinades. There isn’t any salt in this recipe so you have full control over the salt content of you dish.
You can make a sauce out of harissa paste by adding more olive oil to it. You could also make a creamy Harissa sauce by adding to some cream that has been heated gently on the stovetop.
Possibly the most common technique for using Harissa is to use it as a condiment in Mediterranean foods. Just scoop some up with your pita bread and maybe a little yogurt sauce along with the entree. Yum!
If you ever wondered how to store your Harissa Paste, freeze it. Place in ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Place in a freezer bag and place back in the freezer. This will allow you to just take what you need when you need it and your Harissa paste will not go off.
Dive in my peeps, I bet this will be your newest favorite condiment too!
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