Homemade Harissa

When I think of my favorite flavors for cooking, spicy and peppery are the first things that come to mind. My pantry is full of hot sauces, pepper pastes, and kicked-up condiments. Despite this, I don’t consider myself a chili-head. In my experience chili-heads keep track of scoville units like the Forbes top 100 keep track of their bank accounts. For them, it’s a badge of honor. To the uninitiated, scoville units refer to the ever-increasing level of burn most associated with the hotness of a variety of pepper. To me fire takes a back seat to flavor. After all, what’s the point if I can’t taste anything but the heat? I do like a little heat to certain dishes but not melt-my-face-off-heat. The culinary world certainly has its gold standards like Tabasco and the immensely popular sriracha. Lately however, an emerging audience is discovering a new generation of fiery flavored condiments. Among them are Korean gochujang, sambal, and one of my favorites: the North African chili paste, harissa. Continue reading…