Home made harissa

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.

Again, I messed with the recipe until it was barely recognizable. Here's my version.

Yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used Indian)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable stew:

  • 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.

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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12 Responses to Home made harissa

  1. Gorgeous photos! I especially like the first harissa photo's composition.I also have a love-hate relationship with chilli peppers. I cannot tolerate the extreme "hot" flavor, just like you. But there is definitely something addictive and special about the same hotness.

  2. Emjay says:

    As usual your photos are delicious! LOL. I love chili – last night I mixed some into hummus and had it with baked pita – yum!

  3. jaklumen says:

    One bite out of a hot red chilli pepper, my taste buds are on fire, and who knows what the food tastes like.It is a delicate balance, isn't it? I remember years ago when I worked at Sbarro's one of the regulars (who was Hispanic) was telling me that a little can of habanyero sauce should last about a month. I discovered he was right– too much of it and it definitely overpowers the food. I have a little bottle of habanyero and chipotle sauce I mixed together to use sparingly.I am thankful to be in the Americas, I guess, where chiles are so varied, abundant, and easy to obtain (and even grow, if I want– the temperatures here are fine for them). Each have such different flavors, and most I have to be careful with lest I overwhelm the other flavors of the dish.Wonderful recipe, as always. I need to start copying down and printing out some of them, but I don't have a printer attached at the moment.

  4. Waterbaby says:

    i cannot stand yogurt, the sight alone makes me gag, so the chances of me making this are … nil. the rest sounds pretty ok though, lol.

  5. Waterbaby says:

    p.s. i *loooooooooove* anaheim chilies! (not so much a fan of the reds.) i discovered good green chilie when i lived in new mexico. after much searching, i finally found an authentic recipe for it that's in my top 5 of repeat dishes. i wasn't in new mexico long enough to make it to the (green) chilie festival in hatch (do you know about that?) man, goooooood stuff. and so good for you too.

  6. Purplesque says:

    Isn't it? Peppers are one of the most fascinating food like that..

  7. Purplesque says:

    Thank you..chilli in hummus- yum.

  8. Purplesque says:

    Agree with you one hundred percent about the variety of chilli peppers here in the Americas. (They have this whole aisle of chilli peppers that seems to hypnotize A whenever we go grocery shopping.)Re: recipes, you could just bookmark them for later. Thats what I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Purplesque says:

    ๐Ÿ™‚ I have heard of the festival. Certainly not my cup of tea, but hubby would probably love it.

  10. Waterbaby says:

    It would take a helluva lot to get me to step foot in New Mexico again; the Hatch festival juuuuust might do it, long as I could time to leave the state that night or the next day at the latest. lol

  11. jaklumen says:

    As much as I love the posts, I just want the recipe.I'm lazy– it's just a matter of copy, paste, save as a text file.

  12. Neal Winfrey says:

    What phrase… super, excellent idea

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