I’m kind of addicted to spicy food lately. Look me up over a year ago and you’d find the wimp of wimps when it came to hot and spicy food. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the heat but I could barely handle it. At Thai or Mexican restaurants when they ask your spice preference on the scale of 1-10, I would ask for mine at a 3… and that’s just because my pride wouldn’t let me ask for a 1.
But something happened last year. My mouth was transformed into a superhuman mega mouth that literally couldn’t get enough heat! I had a new super power to add to the list of mom-super-powers I already have, “Lava Mouth.” (My other Mom-super-powers? Well, as Teya believes, I have invisible eyes on the back of my head, and I can apparate.) And it wasn’t just being able to handle the heat that changed, I craved it. No, I NEEDED it! At one point, I was personally going through an entire bottle of Chalulah sauce in a single day. Phil finally had to sit me down and “slow the flow,” so to say. My bottle-of-hot-sauce-a-day-habit wasn’t economical for our family.
So it was time to create my own hot sauce that could last longer than a day and satisfy the need for some seriously strong flavor. Harissa was the answer from heaven. This North African spread is bold, rich with pepper flavors, and full of smoky spices such as paprika, caraway, coriander and cumin. The combo of the peppers with the many spices give this sauce more to brag about than just dead heat, it can hold it’s own as a separate bite.
The versatility is also bold. Marinade your chicken in it, or just add some atop a pan seared breast, the spread with turkey sandwiches, try putting a table spoon in your salad dressings, use as dipping sauce for crackers and veggies, or use as a spread on you naan and pitas. Harissa will keep from 4-6 weeks in the fridge so you have enough time to build up your heat stamina and explore the ways it can be used.
Bring on the heat!!
- 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes (add less if you like less heat)
- 4 Tablespoons paprika
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 roasted red peppers (see link in post for directions)
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- Turn oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the seeds of caraway, cumin, and coriander together on a pan and put in oven. Let them toast for 2-3 minutes. You’ll be able to faintly smell the spices.**
- Remove from oven and add the remaining spices to the pile.
- In a blender, drop the garlic cloves and let them become pasty. A tiny drizzle of olive oil can help this along.
- Next add the roasted red peppers to the blender and the olive oil. Taste and add salt to your liking.
- Last add the pile of spices to the blender and mix well. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick and needs a smoother texture. I suggest adding the salt before this step because you’ll be able to better judge the savory level before the chili and spices heat things up.