Photo Credit: Benjamin Morris/NPR
“Inskeep and the Morning Edition crew have encountered a lot of red chili pepper paste known as harissa in practically every country of their [North African Journey]. It’s as ubiquitous as ketchup is in America. It’s served with pretty much every meal and even with simple snacks of bread.
Plus, like its cousin, the Thai hot sauce sriracha, it’s hot, complex and totally addictive. (Just watch the video of NPR’s social media guru Andy Carvin tasting a popular Tunisian stew made of bread, chickpeas, lime, a soft-boiled egg and harissa a few years ago. He’s still talking about it.)
OK, comparing harissa to ketchup doesn’t quite do it justice. Harissa is a blend of hot peppers, oil and various spices. It’s a flavor base for curries and stews, as well as a condiment, in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, according to Middle Eastern food expert Paula Wolfert …”
Let me be the latest to extol the virtues of harissa! I spent this spring in Morocco and had one of the best snacks of my life dipping fresh-made bread into harissa and a flava bean dip called bessara, both prepared in a small village in the Rif Mountains near the city of Ouezzane.