The roots of this intensely spicy concoction are believed to have originated in the North African region, Tunisia to be precise. It derives its unique name from the Arabic word ‘harasa’ which literally translates into, ‘to pound’. This Harissa paste, though often used as a condiment, also forms an integral part of some recipes.
There are different variations of this spice blend. The essential spices that are incorporated into an authentic harissa paste recipe are:
By dry roasting the cumin seeds before grinding them, their natural oils release their true goodness and bring out the lovely aroma of this slightly bitter and savoury spice. Cumin is an integral ingredient of a typical harissa paste recipe. Cumin seeds are a rich source of iron, promote digestion, and help treat inflammatory diseases.
Another popular spice widely used across many cuisines is coriander seeds. These seeds are brown in colour with a hollow cavity, have a floral fragrance and citrusy flavour. Dry roasting releases their essential oils. These seeds also have health benefits as they help tackle diabetes, ease digestion, facilitate hair growth and keep a check on cholesterol levels.
Similar in appearance to cumin seeds, caraway seeds are dark brown in colour with a crescent shape. More of a savoury spice, caraway seeds are warm and sweet with a slight peppery aroma. Mostly used in small quantities, caraway seeds boast of health benefiting minerals, vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.
A dried seed extracted from the fennel herb, fennel seeds are green in colour, resemble cumin seeds and have a sweet aroma. To derive the optimum flavour from this spice, either pound them, dry roast them or grind them. They help regulate blood pressure, reduce water retention, purify the blood and improve eyesight.
This sweet flavoured spice has a pungent taste and smell and is known for its culinary and medicinal properties. Cinnamon lends a lovely aroma to every recipe and when consumed, has a refreshing, warm and comforting effect. In addition, cinnamon is also known to settle your stomach, improve blood circulation, digestion and boost your metabolism.
The kind of chillies you use for this recipe depends upon the level of heat you desire from this chilli paste. Each variety of chilli has its distinct flavour and heat intensity. Combining chillies in a dish can increase their flavour complexity. Some chillies when consumed produce sharp sensations at the back of the throat while others ignite a lingering low-intensity burning sensation on the tongue.
The above spices are blended and mixed with either olive oil or vegetable oil, to form a thick paste. This process also helps this chilli-laden condiment to last longer.
Cumin Seeds Whole
Cumin seeds are an ancient and versatile spice that is a staple in countless kitchens across the world. Cumin has a khaki colour and peppery and nutty flavour with tangy citrus overtones. It is a key ingredient in curry making. Use in Middle Eastern, Indian, Spanish, and Mexican cooking.$3.45
Fennel Seeds Whole
Fennel seeds whole is obtained from the aromatic and tall fennel plant, which originated in the Mediterranean and are member of the caraway family. The seeds release a strong anise flavour that is warm and breath freshening. It is a key ingredient of the Chinese five-spice and Herbs de Provence$3.45
Coriander Seeds Whole
Coriander seeds are obtained from the coriander (or cilantro) plant that belongs to the carrot and parsley family. They have a yellowish-brown colour and a spicy lemon flavour. The whole seeds are more often used in savoury dishes and are particularly good in dukkah and panch poran. They add a rich roasted flavour and are an essential curry spice in India and Middle Eastern cuisine as well as being used widely in Northern European cuisine.$3.45
Chillies Crushed with seeds
Chillies are grown throughout the world and are used to add flavour and heat to many dishes. Dried chillies taste rather different to the fresh variety due to the caramelisation of the sugars that occurs during the drying process. They are used widely in Mexican, Asian, Indian and Italian dishes.$3.45
Cinnamon Ground – Cassia Vera
Cinnamon Ground is the ground powder form of the Cassia quills . It is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cassia vera. Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savoury foods to impart a warm spice flavour. In the Middle East it is commonly paired with meats such as chicken and lamb. The term ‘cinnamon’ also refers to its mid-brown colour.$3.45
Caraway Seeds Whole
Caraway seeds are the seeds of the caraway fruit. They have a pungent aroma and a unique sweet-tangy flavour. They can be used whole, in their powdered form, or as an oil. They are native to Europe, but have spread to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They are used in a variety of dishes in these areas, including rye bread, sauerkraut, goulash and havarti cheese.$3.45