Homestyle Harissa is a North African chile and garlic paste that can be added to just about anything for a little pop of spice and flavor.
Harissa, the North African chili & garlic paste, is a standard pantry item at my house. However I was out of it when a visiting friend asked me to make the spiced almonds she had the last time she was here. What to do? Google a few recipes and develop my own version of homemade harissa for the first time, of course!
I generally prefer to make homemade spice blends and condiments. Although the store bought ones work well in a bind, the fresher made the more flavorful and delicious it is going to be. You can also customize the ingredients to your palate preferences, especially the salt. Since salt is a preservative, many bottled products use extra salt for this purpose.
If you make it yourself, it is not necessary to go so heavy on the salt. You can make smaller quantities so you don’t have to be concerned about the shelf life. You can also freeze the leftovers. A good option is to freeze this in ice cube trays. Then you only need to pop a harissa ice cube every time you need a little..
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE HARISSA
- 4 oz. dried chiles
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Place the chiles in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes, until chiles are softened.
- In a dry skillet, roast the coriander, cumin and caraway until fragrant. Let cool. Using a spice grinder, grind to a powder.
- Drain chiles, reserving a little of the liquid.
- Using a food processor, mix the garlic, lemon juice and chiles until chopped well. Add mint. cilantro, 3 tablespoons of the chile liquid, salt and spice powder and process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl.
- While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until you have a thick paste consistency.