What is harissa?
…is a question we were asked recently (in connection with this recipe).
Harissa is a paste made from chili peppers, garlic, carway, coriander and salt. It looks a bit like tomato puree.
It is readily available both in the UK and in France. In France it is cheap, and when we lived in the UK we would stock up whenever we came to France.
We buy it in small tins (135g). Because you don’t need much we spoon it into small dollops (1 to 2 teaspoons per dollops) onto a tray and then freeze it. So whenever you need it you can just pick it off the tray and drop it into the pan.
You can also buy it in tubes, which (once opened) you can keep in the fridge and then just squeeze a bit into your cooking when required.
Our friend Tony, from FrangloForum, also pointed out the following: “I have found that harissa when added judiciously adds more of a warmth than spiciness but really does come down to how you use it. I think as with all herbs and spices you can add but you cant take away so it is best to start with a little and add a bit at a time until you get the flavour you want.
Harissa is widely used in North Africa and Bruce’s tagine recipe is quite typical of dishes of the region and sound quite delicious. I think I will try it sometime.”