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Harissa paste is often described as the ketchup of the Middle East. Harissa is added to dishes to enhance flavours, used as a condiment, or even slathered onto a chunk of bread.
What is harissa paste?
Harissa paste is a hot, aromatic chilli paste originally from the Barbary coast of North Africa. The main chilli in harissa paste is the Tunisian Baklouti – a large, fiery red chilli pepper. These are pureed with garlic, coriander and salt, and spices that differ depending on where in North Africa you try it.
Harissa is most closely associated with Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya. It is so deeply rooted in Tunisian cuisine, that harissa is sometimes described as Tunisia’s national condiment.
How do I cook with harissa paste?
Harissa paste is a great ingredient in marinades, bringing the fruity heat of chilli peppers and fragrance of coriander in one ingredient. Try adding a spoonful of harissa paste to a lamb stew, or use to marinate chicken before roasting or barbecuing.
Put a North African twist on your burger by using harissa paste instead of ketchup. Or use it to spice up a tomato sauce for chicken, lamb or goat and serve with rice. Harissa is also popularly used to flavour couscous – stir a spoonful through a steaming bowl of couscous and serve with roasted vegetables.
Whisk the harissa paste with water and a little oil to emulsify and make harissa sauce or dip. This is great with freshly baked flatbreads and roasted aubergine slices.
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