Barbara from Tigers & Strawberries went looking for something hotter than July (in the Northern Hemisphere) for this month's The Spice is Right and it came in the form of Chillies.
I decided to stoke those chilli flames with a powerhouse paste that's a fundamental component of North African cuisine - that paste is Harissa.
Harissa is used as both an ingredient and a condiment but beware, it must be used to taste as it is incredibly hot - a small amount will go a long way. Harissa is basically a paste made from dried chillies, garlic, cumin, caraway and tomato and this recipe comes from a favourite Australian Chef, Christine Manfield.
80 grams large dried Chinese chillies
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
50ml tomato purée
Chop the chillies and place in a bowl. covered with water and let it sit for at least 2 hours. Drain, but reserve the water.
Dry-roast the cumin seeds over a low heat until fragrant. Let them cool, before grinding them to a fine powder, with the caraway seeds.
Place the chillies, garlic and 100mls of the reserved soaking water in a food processor and process until smooth. Add spices, salt and tomato purée and process again. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and blend until the paste is smooth.
Spoon into sterilised jars, cover with a film of oil and seal. Keeps refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Makes 1 cup.
If this seems a bit too intense than it might be worth looking at Sweet Chilli Sauce.
Tagged with Spice is Right