Does anyone have a good recipe for harissa paste? I've seen several online and they all have slight variations -- is there a favorite? Also, I'm not a real fan of caraway -- do you suppose it's integral to the condiment, or has anyone seen (or crafted) a harissa without it?
It's not integral, and there are plenty of recipes that don't use it. That said, I like harissa made from a mix of hot and sweet peppers, garlic, and both caraway and coriander. You might try one of those recipes despite your general dislike of caraway; I don't get a clear caraway flavor from it, and I think the pepper-coriander-caraway combination produces its own distinct flavor that emerges from all of them together. I don't think someone who dislikes caraway would object to it. You might make a second batch with just coriander as a backup, though.
Here is my recipe:
@ 15 dried hot peppers
7 cloves of garlic
@ tablespoon ginger
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup olive oil
Zap these all together in your miniprep until desired consistency.
This is what I ended up doing after a couple of years of experimenting and trying various different recipes. I usually end up using this with recipes that add even more of the above. I'm a big fan of caraway myself, so of course for me it seems integral, but why not try without and see how you feel about it? Looking at my numbers, I think I probably actually add more of the cumin and coriander ... I've written this down but I think I play with it a fair amount. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Do let us know how whatever you try turns out.