Harissa is often thought of as that really spicy pepper paste from Morocco, but that’s only half the story. It is true some versions of harissa are made with fiery hot peppers and spices throughout Morocco and Tunisia. But there are milder versions available that involve more tomatoes than peppers.
My mother’s version fell somewhere in between. I remember it had a sweet touch that balanced the roasted jalapeno peppers she used – a pepper she opted for because that was the only alternative for hot peppers in the small US town we lived in. The spices hovered in the background and I happily spread the sauce on just about everything in sight, then waited for the little beads of sweat to start accumulating on my face and forehead.
My version definitely emphasizes the sweetness of the tomatoes with a lot less fire. But I left it open, so you can adjust the heat in the sauce by adding more peppers or cayenne pepper…or reducing those quantities and eliminating the seeds from the peppers.
I recommend using this condiment in a variety of ways. I like to enjoy harissa jam with steamed couscous and pumpkin tagine, slathered on toast, mixed in with hummus or byesar…or even (insert guilty face here) by the spoonful. Think of it this way – it’s like ‘Moroccan Ketchup’.
Yield: Makes about 250 ml. (1 cup)
See Additional Photos Below For More Detailed Instruction
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