Saturday, March 17, 2012

Harissa - DIY Pantry

Do you know harissa? Fiery hot - really super duper hot! It is essentially a red pepper flake pesto, so if you think curry is too hot, look away, you will not be interested in this.

Since harissa is so spicy, it is used in very small amounts. A traditional condiment for Moroccan cooking, it is best dabbed rather than dolloped into tajines or other stew like dishes. The first time I made it my then roommate - of Korean descent - plopped nearly a teaspoon into her bowl, thinking that her lifelong consumption of kimchi made her palate able to handle "super duper" spicy. Sadly, it ruined her bowl and she had to toss it and start fresh. Yes, it really is that hot!

Aside from the wonderful complexity it brings to stews and soups, it stays in the refrigerator almost indefinitely (my last batch lasted me a year). Since it is rehydrated flakes blended with some spices and oil to make a paste, it can't really go bad. For my tastes, it is one of the best DIY pantry staples to make and have on hand since hunting it down in a specialty grocery store can be such a chore!


1/2 cup dried chili flakes
boiling hot water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon lemon (lime) juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Add hot water to red chili flakes to allow to rehydrate; let sit 5 minutes. Strain well and place in a blender with rest of ingredients and process until harissa is a smooth paste. Taste for salt and pepper. Refrigerate unused portion.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Falafel Burgers with Feta Tzatziki Sauce at Cinnamon Girl Recipes
Winter Vegetable Torte at Proud Italian Cook
Potato and Cheese Pierogi at Honey From Rock

1 comment:

Reeni said...

I love all these homemade condiments you're making! So inspiring! It's great how long this lasts too. Thanks Kirsten! xoxo