I have a love-hate relationship with chilli peppers. One bite out of a hot red chilli pepper, my taste buds are on fire, and who knows what the food tastes like. Yet the flavor is so addictive that I keep on trying. I fry them, add them in cooking water, deseed them, pickle them, anything in order to coax out the flavor and get rid of the heat.
Home made harissa is the fruit of such a labor.
I used a mixture of New Mexico chillies (mild) and Indian red chillies (hot). The recipe is simple and flexible. Crush in a mortar/grind in a wet spice grinder:
4 mild and 4 hot dried red chillies, soaked in hot water, then deseeded and destemmed
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp caraway seeds, all dry roasted
1/2 tsp salt
1 green cardamom and 1 clove
Taste and adjust spices and heat. Store in an airtight container in the fridge/freezer. Stir in yogurt, stocks, stews, or spread on toasted pita/naan.
We mixed ours with yogurt to make a Moroccan style vegetable stew with harissa yogurt sauce. Recipe here.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used Indian)
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 turnip, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2-3 cups stock (I used cooking liquid from the chickpeas)
For yogurt sauce:
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill.
For vegetable stew:
Melt oil in heavy large pot. Add carrots and turnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are soft, stirring often. Stir in flour. Add beans, spinach and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer; cook until vegetables are heated through and the flavors meld, adding more cooking liquid if desired. Season stew to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Serve with yogurt sauce over couscous or rice.