Warm Up to the Spicy Flavor of Harissa Thursday, May 08 2014



Watch out, sriracha - you might be everyone’s favorite spicy red condiment today, but just wait until more people get a taste of the spicy deliciousness that is harissa. This hot chili paste popular in North Africa is poised to heat up the food world with its fiery, yet adaptable, flavor.


Harissa, a paste made of roasted chili peppers and spices, is widely used in the cuisine of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco and is often added to couscous, soups and tagines.


To make harissa, soak 10 dried chili peppers in water for 30 minutes, then remove stems/seeds and drain. For a spicier harissa, use Arbol chiles; for moderate heat use New Mexico chiles. Opt for chipotle peppers if you want a smoky harissa flavor, and if cooking for those who don’t want too much spice, use roasted red bell peppers.


In a blender, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of Spicely Organics harissa seasoning (a mix of organic chili flakes, organic garlic, organic parsley, organic caraway and organic coriander). Blend together with peppers until smooth.


Besides using it as a condiment, you can also use harissa as a spicy seasoning for grilling meat and eggplant, or you can swap it out for marinara sauce to add an unexpected kick to your next pizza.


Looking for even more harissa inspiration? Treat your palate to these recipes from some of our favorite recipe developers:


This Harissa Spaghettini recipe from 101 Cookbooks fuses pasta, olives, kale, pine nuts and harissa for an sophisticated, yet down-to-earth meal.


If you’re looking for something lighter, try this Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint from Smitten Kitchen.


And for a simple, yet elegant brunch, put together a piece of Moroccan Guacamole Toast with Fried Egg featured on Food52.


What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy harissa?