Monday, January 31, 2011

Harissa Sauce (North African Chili-Garlic Sauce)

Harissa is a fiery and fabulous North African sauce essential for flavoring delicious Couscous but also has lots of other uses. Stirred into pasta, stews, or sauces, Harissa instantly enlivens whatever it is added to; but do be cautious - a little of the heady sauce goes a long, long way :D! Once you try it, you will find that it is indispensable and would want to keep a jar of it handy to spice up an otherwise bland dish. The diluted sauce can also be used as a table condiment for individual diners to stir into their food - try as a dip for Pakodas, Bajjis, Fritters, and French fries!


1 Bulb fresh Garlic
8 - 12 Dry Red Chilies or 2 - 4 Tbsp ground
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
about 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Separate the garlic cloves and peel them; trim the stem ends. Process in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely minced.

Stem the chilies, break in halves and shake out all the seeds if a mild sauce is preferred.

Grind the cumin, coriander, and the chilies with a couple of pinches of salt in a spice grinder into a fine powder.

Heat a couple of spoons of olive oil in a skillet or small pan and add the garlic with a couple of pinches of salt. Cook until the garlic becomes pale gold.

Add the spices and the rest of the salt and cook for a couple of minutes. Cool a little.

Spoon the sauce into a clean, sterile, dry jar.

Cover with a generous layer of olive oil.

To serve, remove a tablespoon or two as needed and dilute with more oil to taste. Enjoy!!

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