Harissa is a spicy and aromatic chili sauce, commonly found in the cooking of the North African countries of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The basic recipe calls for hot peppers, garlic, salt, olive oil and spices. This version from Vedge , a vegetarian restaurant in Philadelphia, uses green jalapenos, onions, garlic, a generous amount of fresh cilantro, along with dried coriander and cumin. Cilantro haters can substitute parsley or half parsley and half fresh spinach. Some mint might be interesting in the mix.
The original recipe called for 2 jalapenos, one was enough for my palate, remember you can always add more heat, it’s harder to take it away. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when handling chilies. Chili oil on sensitive parts of your body (hands, lips, eyes etc.) will burn for a long time. Chili oil is not water soluble, it’s fat soluble. So if you get some on your hands, rub some cooking oil into your hands before washing with soap and water.
Serve green harissa as a sauce for grilled vegetables and fish, lamb burgers, an unconventional taco topping, the possibilities are endless.
Makes 1 cup
- 2 c loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 1 c finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 2 T or more olive oil
- 2 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 t ground coriander
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 t salt
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 t sugar
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth