I think there’s no need to introduce the Tunisian Harissa, since it has become a food staple, not only in Tunisia but also all over the world and even in the US. Today, we literally compare it to Sriracha. This spicy paste adds a unique flavor to any kind of dish.
What you may not know is that in Tunisia, there’s a sweet version of Harissa. It’s totally different from the one we know and is made with semolina and almonds (we’ll talk about next time). Right now, let’s just focus on this Tunisian red gold. And also, did you know that the word “Harissa” comes from the Arab word “Harasa” which literally mean to crush and grind?
In Tunisia, Harissa is more than just a food staple. First and foremost, it’s all about love and traditions. Since the dawn of time, Tunisian women have had well-defined method to prepare what became the red gold of the country. Of course, each woman has its own secret to obtain a unique taste that can’t be found elsewhere. But the basic recipe is almost the same everywhere.
The basic recipe is very easy and don’t need many ingredients, if you ever want to try it at home. Put a fair amount of dried peppers (ideally sun-dried for a better taste) in some warm water to rehydrate them for almost 20 minutes. Take off all the peduncles and seeds. Once it’s done, put the peppers in a traditional meat grinder (The mixer isn’t recommended at all, and you can find these grinders on the internet). Of course, don’t forget to add a pinch of salt. Once the paste is ready, but it in a glass jar and cover it with extra virgin olive oil.
Harissa recipes may differ from a region to another. Some people add garlic to the paste for a stronger taste, some others prefer putting many varieties of pepper in the paste, which gives a different taste to Harissa. But no matter the recipes or the ingredients, Harissa will always have a special place in our hearts and palates.
And if you want to try the real taste of Tunisian Harissa, take a look at our website.