Harissa sauce is a fiery, chilli-based Tunisian sauce, also popular in Morocco. It is used to accompany salads, stirred to flavour soups and stews or thinned with olive oil and passed as a dip for couscous and brochettes.
You can buy Harissa sauce in tinned or tube form in the specialty food section of supermarkets or from any Middle Eastern market. Alternatively, you can make your own – it is easy to prepare and when refrigerated will keep for a good two to three months.
Harissa Sauce: Harissa Sauce Recipe
Makes ½ a cup
12 dried red chilli peppers
3/4 cup (175 ml) boiled water
½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
Discard the stems and the seeds from the chillies and then cover with the boiled water and leave to soak for an hour. Drain and cut up into small pieces using kitchen scissors. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, chop the garlic with the salt. Add the drained chillies and pound or grind to a puree. Sprinkle salt to taste and then spoon into a jar and cover with a layer of olive oil. Seal with lid and refrigerate.
Variation: For a less pungent Harissa sauce, use four to six chillies and add two roasted or blanched red bell peppers when grinding in a mortar / food processor.
Caution: Use protective gloves when handling the chillies in this recipe and wash you hands and utensils thoroughly after use.