Hot chile paste
Harisa is the most important condiment used in Turnsian cooking, and, in fact, you need to make this recipe and keep is in the refrigerator before attempting any other Tunisian recipe. The simplest recipe is merely a paste of red chile peppers and salt that is covered in olive oil and stored. Harisa is sold in tubes by both Tunisian and French firms. The Tunisian one is better but neither can compare to your own freshly made from this recipe.
- 2 ounces mildly hot dried guajillo chile peppers
- 2 ounces mild dried Anaheim chile peppers
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- extra virgin olive oil for topping off
- Soak the chile peppers in tepid water to cover until softened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and remove the stems and seeds. Place in a blender or food processor with the garlic, water, and olive oil and process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the caraway, coriander, and salt. Store in a jar and top off, covering the surface of the paste with a layer of olive oil. Whenever the paste is used, you must always top off with olive oil making sure no paste is exposed to air, otherwise it will spoil.
To make salsat al-harisa, harisa sauce, used as an accompaniment to grilled meats, stir together 2 teaspoons harisa, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves.