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Harissa (Arabic: هريسة) is a Tunisian hot chili sauce whose main ingredients are piri piri (type of chili pepper), serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil. It is most closely associated with Tunisia, Libya and Algeria but recently also making inroads into Morocco according to Moroccan food expert Paula Wolfert. It can also be found in countries with strong Arab presence such as France or Germany. In Israel harissa is a common topping for falafel.
Recipes for harissa vary according to the household and region. Variations can include the addition of cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander, and lemon juice. In Saharan regions, harissa can have a smoky flavor. Prepared harissa is also sold in jars, cans, bottles, tubes, plastic bags and other containers.
In Tunisia, harissa is used as an ingredient in a meat (goat or lamb) or fish stew with vegetables, and as a flavoring for couscous. It is also used for lablabi, a chickpea soup usually eaten for breakfast. In some European countries it is used sometimes as a breakfast spread for tartines or rolls. Harissa paste can also be used as a rub for meat or eggplants.