Oct 30, 2011

Harissa: Moroccan Hot Sauce

Each country has its own version of hot sauce.  Morocco is no exception.  I have tried the harissa in a can, which is much to be desired.  Then there is the harissa in a tube. A tube? Really?  Then I tried Mustapha brand of Harissa.  This harissa is hard to beat.  But I am not here to talk about buying harissa, but making your own.  It is easy and inexpensive to make.  All it takes is a food processor or blender and a few ingredients and you will have a hot sauce to your liking.


6 ounces of dried chilies (equal amounts of Ancho, pasillas, new mexico, guajillo, and chipotle chilies) any combination you like.  Ancho and pasillas are very mild.

1 red bell pepper, roasted

6 oz of sundried tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic, roasted

salt to taste

1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, freshly grounded

1 1/2 coriander seeds, freshley grounded

1 tsp cumin

2 tbs olive oil, plus extra for storage

Boil some water.  Place the chilies in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Let the chilies soak for about 30 minutes.  Make sure that you wear gloves when handling peppers. Peel the garlic and add a little olive oil.  Place in aluminum and put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees F.  They should be soft when you take them out of the oven.  Roast the red bell pepper at the same time.  This will take about 30 minutes in the oven.  Place the pepper on a broiler pan and keep turning every 10 minutes so that the skin is scorched on all sides. 

In the mean time, grind up the spices in a mortar or use a coffee grinder.  Once the peppers have been rehydrated, remove stem and seeds. Skin the  bell pepper and remove the seeds.  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust the spices according to your taste. Pour a thin film of olive oil on top for storage.  This will keep up to a month in the fridge or you can freeze it.  Enjoy!

P.S. There are different variations of this recipe.  You can add cilantro, lemon juice, onions or whatever ingredients that you like in your hot sauce. Harissa can also be used in place of tomato paste in your recipe.