Harissa is from the Arabic word for "to break into pieces," which refers to the traditional method of preparation that involves pounding peppers into a coarse paste. Modern methods using a blender or food processor produce a Harissa that is more of a sauce. There are many variations of this condiment. Although it's available commercially, it's easy to prepare and will keep for many weeks in the refrigerator, why not prepare it fresh? It's commonly used as a condiment with couscous, vegetable and meat tagines, grilled foods, and to flavor soups and egg dishes.
- 7 dried red New Mexican chiles, stems and seeds removed, or substitute 5 small hot chiles like piquin
- 1 tablespoon ground paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the chiles in a bowl, cover with very hot water and steep 15-20 minutes. Drain the chiles and discard the water.
Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream to form a thick sauce.