Monsoon Coast Tunisian Harissa
In Arabic, Harissa means “to pound or make into a paste”, and it is perhaps the most important condiment in Tunisian Cooking. When the chile pepper was brought from the New World by European sailors to the Mediterranean, Tunisians improvised this method of creating a long-lasting hot condiment from it to use in their meals.
In its simplest form, Harissa was made by laboriously pounding hot chiles in a mortar with a pinch of salt, and then covered in olive oil to preserve. Harissa later traveled from Tunisia into neighbouring areas of North Africa such as Algeria and Libya, and even reached Western Sicily where also couscous was popular. Over time, different spice shops (who would make it fresh to order) started to add other spices or their own signature flavours to this beloved spicy olive oil paste.
Our dry version of Tunisian Harissa means you can make the fresh paste as needed while preserving the rest in its dry form for later use. To make Harissa paste with our blend, crush 2 cloves of garlic into 2 TBL of olive oil and add 1 tsp of lemon juice, and 2-4 tsp of our Tunisian Harissa and stir. For a milder version, also add 1 TBL of tomato paste, chopped parsley and a bit of water. After making the basic Harissa paste use your imagination: from marinades, to dips, BBQ, spicy couscous or tagine.