Hot sauce is a very popular condiment that is manufactured commercially. Many people will tell you that everything tastes better with some hot sauce. If you do not subscribe to having a lot of heat or layered flavor in your food, you might not agree with the claim that hot sauce makes everything better. We are talking about hot sauce because it bears similarities with Harissa.
The word “Harissa” has Arabic origins which imply “to pound”. Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste that you can’t quit once you start having some. The main ingredients are roasted red peppers, chili peppers, and a whole lot of herbs and spices. This hot paste might not be as common as the hot sauce but it works as a condiment or in soups and stews.
What does harissa taste like? The taste of harissa is best described as smoky, tangy, and slightly sweet. It is spicy, with enough kick that you will notice, but not too hot to the extent that it is unbearable. Because of how popular it is; Harissa is usually compared with ketchup. The flavor is usually dependent on the mix of herbs and spices that go into it during its preparation.
The ingredients used for harissa are very interesting, we have extra virgin olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and garlic. All of which have one nutritional benefit or the other that they offer the body.
Nutritional Benefits of Harissa
Did you know that spicy food can increase your feeling of safety? Apparently, after eating spicy food, it makes you feel full and happy. Next time when you feel down, turn to spicy food, it might help.
The compound that makes harissa spicy is called “Capsaicin”. An antioxidant that might be able to boost metabolism in the body, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer. Capsaicin might also be able to improve heart health. Several studies have been carried out on spicy foods like harissa, one of them shows that spicy foods might be the secret to a longer life.
Aside from potentially being an elixir that could grant you immortality, harissa has a lower sodium content when compared to all the other hot sauces that we have out there. This scores more points for people who need to control and monitor their blood pressure. If you are trying to watch your salt intake and cannot do without hot sauce, switching to harissa would be a great choice.
In 2015, a study found out that people who ate spicy food 6 to 7 days a week had a 14 percent lower mortality rate than people that didn’t. I wish the kings of old had known this; instead of sending knights on quests to search for immortality, they could have had them making harissa.
Culinary Uses of Harissa
Harissa can be made in your kitchen if you have the right recipe, but you can take the easy route and buy a jar from a nearby stop.
Just like every other hot sauce, harissa is very versatile. It is available in powdered form if you want to use it in another manner. The powdered form can be added to marinades while you can use the sauce as a rub. It can also be used to make spicy poached fish, it is perfect when paired with kebab, shawarma, or a bowl of hummus.
The versatility of harissa extends to cool creamy foods. The hot flavor of harissa can help create a balance and keep these creamy foods from tasting bland. Harissa can be mixed into dips, yogurt, or dressings. The cool flavor of these foods can help balance the heat of harissa. You can even use harissa itself as a dip.
Harissa can also be used to make Moroccan sauces like heryme; which is actually a blend of harissa that contains fish, stock, olive oil, cilantro, and peppers. If you need to have a different kind of condiment in your kitchen, harissa works best. It can add that spicy kick to anything you want. Harissa is popular in North African and Middle Eastern Cuisines.
What is the Origin of Harissa? How to Procure It?
Harissa is made by pounding chili, the word “harissa” is a derivative of the Arabic word “harasa” which means to pound. You might be thinking that chili is not exactly native to the Middle Eastern region of the world. That assumption is not wrong at all. Chili peppers were probably introduced by the Columbian exchange between 1535 and 1574.
No harissa sauce is the same, the recipes for making harissa differ depending on the region it comes from. Harissa is usually identified as the main condiment of Tunisia, just like ketchup is well recognized in the United States.
Tunisia is the highest exporter of harissa, as of 2006, the production of harissa in Tunisia has risen to about 22,000 tonnes and over 40,000 tonnes of pepper is used during the production. The pepper used in harissa made in Turkey is grown in the region of Nabeul and Gabes; these peppers are mild, they score about 4000-5000 on the Scoville scale.
Harissa is not only manufactured in Tunisia, it is also a common condiment in other countries like Algeria, Israel, and Morocco. Harissa is sold in jars, which are commonly sold in jars, in stores around the world.
What is the Difference Between Hot Pepper and Harissa?
Hot pepper and harissa have something; spiciness. Harissa is hot pepper chili paste, it is mixed with other herbs and spices, some recipes are very heavy on the garlic. Harissa differs from hot pepper because it packs more flavor and different levels of heat.
Facts You Don’t Know About Harissa
- Since you can make harissa all by yourself, you can control the level of heat in it by using mild peppers so it can’t suit your tastes. You can use different combinations of chili peppers in Harissa and control the taste and flavor down to how smoky it feels.
- When you want to make harissa, you need to hydrate the dry chiles so you can turn them into a paste.