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Harissa

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Harissa paste

Harissa is a paste made from dried red chilli peppers and spices and is eaten as an appetizer especially in the Eastern Mediterranean area. Harissa is of Tunisian origin and is a versatile paste.

Harissa can be used both as a condiment and as an appetizer (mezze, in Lebanese cuisine), combined with freshly chopped parsley or coriander, dried mint, oregano, lemon or orange zest.

Traditionally, harissa is combined with cooked meat like kebab, chicken, but also in combination with tuna, shrimp, white cod, sweet potato or even combined with butter.

Harissa - how to prepare

Harissa is made from dried red chilli peppers because the flavour is intensified by this process.

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 dried red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (toasted)
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Place the peppers in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover them. Let soak for about 48 hours, changing the water occasionally.
  2. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds, then grind them in a pestle and mortar until you get a powder. Warning. Don't confuse cumin with caraway. They are two different spices.
  3. Drain the peppers, cut off the stems and remove most of the seeds. Discard the stems and seeds and coarsely chop the peppers. If you prefer a hotter paste, keep some of the seeds and add them at the end.
  4. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the peppers with the garlic and salt until a thick, velvety paste forms. You'll have some work to do, but it's worth the effort.
  5. Add the ground spices and whisk the paste again. Pour in half of the olive oil and at this stage, if you wish, you can add other ingredients such as fresh coriander or finely chopped parsley, mint, oregano or grated orange zest.

How do you roast caraway seeds? It's very simple! Put a frying pan (clean,without oil) over medium heat, add the seeds in a single layer. Stirthe seedsat short intervals (10-15 seconds) by moving the pan. When the spice beginstogive off a slight, toasty smell, or the seeds beginto pop, take the pan off the heat and let the seeds cool in a dry bowl.

Average frying time is 2-4 minutes.


Harissa - Storage

Pour the harissa paste into a sterilised jar and pour the remaining olive oil over it. Seal the jar and store in a cool place or in the fridge.

You can keep it for 1-2 months - consuming a little as you need it.

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I am passionate about spices and have been researching them and using them frequently for a few years now. I try to simplify the information in books as much as possible and bring it into the digital space in a useful, easy to navigate form. If you haven't found the answer to your question about certain spices, please leave a comment below.

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