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Author Notes: If there is one ingredient that is quintessentially Tunisian, it has to be harissa. This family recipe of ours will make you never want to buy the store stuff again! You can marinate meat with it, or simply dip a crusty piece of bread into it- the possibilities are endless! —Our Tunisian Table
- 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or olive)
- 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
- 12 ounces red pepper flakes
- 9 ounces water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon caraway powder
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, to finish
- Place a small sauce pan with the oil on low heat. Add tomato paste and lightly saute for a few minutes until red color is released into the oil and it becomes fragrant. *Note: Sauteing the tomato paste is to cook out the raw flavor, you do not want any browning.
- Add red pepper flakes and stir into the tomato paste and oil. Add water and stir. Add cumin powder, caraway powder, salt. Press two of the garlic cloves and add those as well.
- Stir mixture and check thickness. It should not be runny or too thick, more water can be added in small increments to reach the perfect consistency. Cover the pot and set on the lowest heat setting possible.
- Let cook for 10-20 minutes or until the pepper flakes have all fully softened. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Add 1 tbsp vinegar and two more pressed garlic cloves. To finish, add 1/4 cup olive oil.