Harissa is an Algerian, Libyan and Tunisian hot red sauce or paste made from chilli peppers(often smoked) and garlic, often with coriander, cumin, and/or olive oil. It may also sometimes contain tomatoes. It somewhat resembles sambal(when made without meat) and chili sauce. One well-known and expensive variety, “rose harissa” also includes rose petals.
Want to make your own ? Here’s my version (inspired from the original North African version)
10-12 dried red chili peppers, stems removed.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 tsp lemon juice
Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes and drain. In a food processor combine chili peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil and blend. Add remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste. Store in airtight container. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top to keep fresh.