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Category: Sauces and Condiments

Tunisian Spicy Chile Paste (Harisa)

Tunisian Spicy Chile Paste (Harisa)
Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

If Tunisia were as close to Los Angeles as Mexico is, there's no doubt we would all be eating harisa today rather than salsa. Given how readily we Americans accept spicy food, we'd surely embrace it. Harisa is the most ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Makes 1 cup
Note: To make salsa al-harisa (called harisa sauce), which is used as an accompaniment to grilled meats, stir together 2 teaspoons harisa, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves.
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo chiles, about 8 chiles
  • 2 ounces dried California chiles, about 8 chiles
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Step 1Soak chiles in tepid water to cover until softened, about 1 hour. Drain and remove stems and seeds. Puree in blender or food processor with garlic, water and 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides.

Step 2Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in caraway, coriander and salt. Store in jar, covering surface of paste with layer of olive oil. Whenever paste is used, you must always top off with olive oil, making sure no paste is exposed to air; otherwise it will spoil.


Variation: To make very hot harisa, use 4 ounces dried guajillo chiles and 1 ounce dried chiles de arbol.

Each tablespoon:
19 calories; 222 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.16 gram fiber.
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