Desperately Seeking Tunisian Harissa in a Tube!!
- jarona Aug 1, 2011 10:24 AM
Alrighty! I was fortunate enough to pick up a tube of Tunisian Harissa last month in Cannes. We had an apartment there and I was doing a lot of cooking. As such, the best ingredient/condiment I came across was this brightly colored tube of Tunisian Harissa. It was dirt cheap and added great spicey flavor and a kick to many of the dishes I made. I was even luckier to bring some home. However, I used it all up. Now I'm researching where I can get some of this. Trader Joe's is a no go. Whole Foods is a no go. Sur la Table. Unh unh. I'm stuck.
Anyone out there in the Philly area familiar to what I seek? If so, can you lead me to this.
Thanks in advance if you can help!
the 2 places i've bought harissa in philly were williams sonoma, which was good stuff, although (surprise!) pretty fancy, unlike the sort of stuff that's most common in France. i also found some in a little bodega-esque store on girard, a block or so west of the El.
I'm told that harissa is not that hard to make, but my one try was not particularly successful.
Harissa making is not as daunting as you may think. Some recipes have too many ingredients. I've had the Williams-Sonoma stuff and it was much too tame for me. That may be because I can tolerate more incendiary chiles than most people.
Moroccan Harissa Paste
3 roasted red bell peppers
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. each: cayenne pepper**, ground cumin, ground caraway*, ground coriander
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
* A coffee grinder works well for grinding caraway seeds.
Remove stems and seeds from fresh red bell peppers before roasting under the broiler. Slice the bells in half and crush them flat. Place the flattened peppers on non-stick aluminum foil skin side up and place under the broiler, char them until the skin is charred black. Place the charred peppers in a plastic container with a cover for about 10 minutes and allow the steam produced to help loosen the skin so it can be peeled off under running water before being pureed. Purée all ingredients until smooth. (Increase cayenne pepper for a spicier harissa.)
This harissa should keep well in glass jar with a tight fitting cap and refrigerated.
**Note: I use steamed homegrown fresh chiles instead of ground cayenne pepper.
It's not in a tube, and not Tunisian, but Whole Foods does sell harissa by Cava. It's with the fresh dips. Cava is a restaurant in Maryland/DC, so I was a bit surprised to see it here in the Whole Foods in Plymouth. I haven't bought the prepared stuff, but I've had it in the restaurant and it's pretty darned tasty.
Take a look at the ingredient list of this product.
Harissa Sauce in Tube (Le Cabanon) 150g ingredient list...
Ingredients: Hot Chili 68 percent, tomato puree 20 percent, onions, salt, transformed potato starch, coriander, garlic, cumin, vegetable oil, chilli oleoresin.
Product of France.
Spice Corner, it reopened a while ago. Never looked for for the tube harissa there but I will now--I got hooked when Green Aisle Grocery was carrying it but they stopped a while ago, saying they couldn't source it anymore. IIRC it had Tunisian writing on it but was made in France.
You can get good harissa in little cans from Bitar's, but the tube is way more convenient.