Ask Niki: Harissa

Heard of harissa, but not sure what it is or where to get it from?

Q: "Could you please tell me what 'harissa' is and where to get it? I have a recipe which uses it."

Dale Riley

A: Harissa is a hot, red, North African paste. It's made from chillies (usually dried) which are blended with garlic, coriander seeds, cumin and oil. You can buy harissa from specialty shops, delis and some supermarkets – you'd find it in the same aisle as relishes and chutneys. Harissa can be added to dishes like tagines and couscous to add flavour, or it can be used like a condiment with grilled meats. If you can't find it anywhere, you could make your own combination of chilli flakes, sliced garlic and cumin, blended or crushed together. Vary the amounts of these ingredients to suit your own taste – I like a lot of heat, but you could make the paste mild, if you prefer.

First published: Nov 2008

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