I was introduced to Harissa paste during the start of the pandemic. I was looking for sauces or dips to serve and somebody said harissa is the new sriracha. That piqued my interest and I looked it up. It had all the ingredients I likes and it was spicy. This is a chilli paste used in Northern African cooking and is a condiment in Tunisia and Morocco.I found it in the supermarket. They had two varieties, mild and spicy. I both the spicy one and it was quite good. I have used them in marinades, as dips, in stir fries, in soups and even as a chutney for idli and dosas. I realised I was going through so much of it that I decided to try making it at home. I looked up many recipes from epicurious, masterclass, Our Tunisian Table and other websites and the ingredients in the store bought paste. All recipes had slight variations. I added what I think will go well, so I do not claim for it to be authentic since i have not eaten harissa other than from the store bought one. But I love this paste and i hope you try it too. The spices are so close to Indian spices and has familiar flavours. Another new spice i am using is Berbere which is an Ethiopian spice and I love it.
When blending the paste, I had a mishap and had a lot of the past on me. Luckily, I closed my eyes but I did have some of the paste on my face and clothes. So, I did taste some even before i intended to taste it and it was good! 🙂
- 2 red peppers
- 2 guajillo red chillies and 6 red chillies (or 8 regular dried red chillies)- reduce if you want a mild sauce
- 6- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (or substitute fennel seeds if you cannot find caraway seeds)
- 1 tsp chilli powder or paprika powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Place pepper under a broiler and broil till skin is blackened and slightly softened, for about 20 minutes. Remove, run under cold water and remove charred skin. Cut and remove seeds and keep aside. You can also place peppers on a gas stove and turn till it is blackened
- In the meanwhile, pour hot water on the red chillies and dehydrate it. Remove the stocks. Once softened, drain.
- In a small pan, roast cumin, caraway seeds and coriander seeds for about two minutes. Use a pestle and mortar or a food processor to powder it.
- Heat 1 tsp oil, add garlic and fry.
- In a food processor blender, add all ingredients and blend till smooth. Add more oil, salt, lemon juice if required.
- Save in an airtight bottle in the fridge. It should last for at least 2 weeks but most days it is used up before that.
- Some ideas to use the paste: Marinate baby potatoes, cauliflower or meat and roast in the oven. Use it as a sauce for cauliflower or chicken wings. Add a tablespoon or two to your soup to elevate your soup.
Chickpea Harissa Soup
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery (optional), chopped
- 6-8 mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 capsicum green pepper/ red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1-2 tbsp harissa paste
- 1-2 tsp cumin powder
- 3 cups water or stock
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- cilantro/parsley to garnish
- Heat oil, add onions, carrots, celery and saute. Add mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes on a low flame
- Add garlic, cumin powder and continue to saute for a minute till fragrant. Add harissa paste and mix
- Add the chickpeas, pepper and 3 cups of water or stock
- Season with salt and continue to cook till chickpeas are heated up.
- Turn off heat, add lemon juice and taste. If required, add more salt, harissa paste or lemon juice.
- Garnish with cilantro/parsley and serve hot.
- Serve on a cold winter, snowy day and it will warm you up. This serves two. Make a big batch and have it for lunch.