In response to a couple of comments today, I am posting the recipe that I use to make my harissa. As ever, there’s are lots of recipes out there, each with slight variations, this is just the one that I’ve found and liked from The Kitchn.
Let me say, I like some chilli heat, but probably not anywhere near to the extent of the ‘chilli sisters’, Dimple and Sonal, or my husband, so I find this VERY hot. I do have one friend who eats in straight from the jar, now she is hardcore!!
When I first made my own harissa paste and tasted it, I was oohing and aahing and dancing round the kitchen with the heat and my lovely builders could all hear me on the other side of the wall and thought something rather more ‘orgasmic’ was going on!!
So, the recipe…see below for my anglicised version or click on the link…
4 ounces dried chiles of your choice (see Recipe Notes)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
Optional additions: fresh lemon juice, preserved lemon, fresh or dried mint, fresh coriander, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, cayenne, paprika
Heatproof bowl for soaking chiles
Pan for toasting spices
Spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle for grinding spices
Knife for stemming and seeding chiles
Gloves for stemming and seeding chiles (optional but recommended)
Food processor or mortar and pestle for mixing paste
Airtight jar for storage
Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.
Let them stand for 30 minutes.
While the chiles are soaking, toast the caraway, coriander, and cumin in a dry pan over low-medium heat, occasionally shaking or stirring to prevent burning.
When the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan.
Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or coffee grinder.
Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid for later.
Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles. (Wearing gloves is optional but recommended to protect your hands.)
Combine the chiles with spices, garlic, and salt.
Combine the chiles, ground spices, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. (You can also use a mortar and pestle.)
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process to form a smooth and thick paste.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
If a thinner paste is desired, blend in a little of the chile soaking liquid until the paste has reached your desired texture.
*The flavor of the harissa will deepen over the next day or two, but you can taste it now and add more salt or other optional ingredients to your liking.
Transfer the harissa to a jar and cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil.
Cover the jar and refrigerate for up to a month, adding a fresh layer of olive oil on the top each time you use the harissa.
Chiles: Use any chiles you like and have on hand, either a single kind or a combination. For moderately spicy harissa, try a mix of Guajillo and New Mexico chiles. Add heat with Arbol or Puya chiles. Add smokiness with Chipotle or Morita chiles. Add richness with Ancho, Mulato, or Pasilla chiles.
For a very mild harissa, use roasted red bell peppers.
To substitute fresh chiles: Use twice as many fresh as dried (e.g., 8 ounces total fresh instead of 4 ounces total dried). You can also use a mix of fresh and dried chiles.
*the flavour of the paste continues to deepen the longer you have it, be warned!!