Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harissa Hot Sauce

In my recent travels around the World Wide Web, I stumbled across a few references to harissa, a pasty hot sauce with roots in Algiers, Libya and Tunisia in North Africa.

Harissa blends combinations of chiles, garlic, spices (most often coriander), salt and olive oil. Preparation appears to be very simple and the anecdotal reports are that the resulting mixture is deliciously addictive. Amy Scattergood, who wrote about harissa for the Los Angeles Times, notes that the sauce she made is so good, it has replaced her ketchup, salsa and Louisiana hot sauce.

Amy's recipe follows below.

Basic Harissa

Makes 1 cup. You can grind the spices in a spice grinder, a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

4 ounces dried chiles (equal amounts of New Mexico, guajillo and chipotle chiles)

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, freshly ground

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, freshly ground

2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, plus extra for storage

Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let rest until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, then remove the seeds and stems from the chiles. Wear latex or rubber gloves when you do this to avoid irritating your skin.

Place seeded, stemmed chiles into the bowl of a food processor with the garlic and pulse a couple of times. Add the salt, caraway and coriander. Process until smooth, pouring olive oil into the feeding tube on top as you blend. Add a little water if necessary to achieve the right consistency: The harissa should be a thick paste. To store, top with a thin layer of olive oil and refrigerate.



spleenal said...

hey there Sullicom my budy Wayne at
was asking me the other day how do you know how many people visit your blog?

I said there's no way to know with out a counter.
where do you get such things from?

Chef JP said...

Harissa is dang good---on first taste it attacks the lips & the tip of the tongue. I agree in its inherent addictive properties and if I have any in the house it must be doled out by my personal physician, Dr. Mye Eyes.