Recipe: How to Make Homemade Harissa Sauce

created at: 11/12/2012

All this week, ManMade is excited to be teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to share lots of cool, DIY food crafts and ideas, any which would make an excellent weekend project or a great handmade holiday gift for your family and friends. 

created at: 11/19/2012

Harissa is a bold, complex chile sauce that hails from the Northern Africa countries of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco. While it’s a little bit spicy, it’s brings much more than heat -aromatic, bitter, smoky, and bright. It’s good on, well, everything, and canconstructed from easy-to-find ingredients. Though the flavors are anything but ordinary. Make some now, and make it often.

Recipe: Makes 1 1/2 cups; enjoy immediately

  • 2 ounces dried ancho chiles (5 to 7 chiles), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2  teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2  teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for storing
  • 1  tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

Step One: Place ancho chiles in medium bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let sit until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain chiles, discarding water; transfer to food processor.

Step Two: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange pobla- nos and bell pepper on prepared baking sheet, skin side up. Broil until skins start to blister and blacken, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through broiling. Transfer poblanos and bell pepper to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until skins peel off easily, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins; transfer poblanos and bell pepper to food processor with ancho chiles.

Step Three: Toast cumin, coriander, and caraway in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer spices to spice grinder and process until finely ground, about 10 seconds; then add to food processor along with serranos,mint,oil,lemon juice,garlic,honey,salt,and nutmeg. Process mixture until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer harissa to jars with tight-fitting lids, leaving 1⁄4 inch space at top, then cover with additional oil. Harissa can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. 

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Recipe by Dan Zuccarello. Photos by Anthony Tieuli.