Home-made Libyan Harissa هريسة منزلية ليبيه

Harissa simply means paste so in different Arab countries it refers to very different recipes, including a semolina dessert more widely known as Basbousa.

In North Africa harissa refers to the regions favourite condment, a chili paste. It is used in dips and marinades and to add a kick to Tajins and stews. In Libya the favourite sandwich filling is harissa mixed with tuna. Tuna and harissa stuffed savoury pastries like Khbaiza are also popular.

This is one of several Libyan harissa recipes, flavored with cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.

Makes about 2 cups of Harissa.

3 cups finely chopped red chili peppers (about 14 chillies)
3-4 large cloves of garlic
1-2 teaspoons cumin
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon pan-roasted coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon pan-roasted caraway seeds (optional)
1 boiled large carrot (optional)
Clean glass jar
Olive oil to cover

To make the harissa less hot,  deseed and de-vein  the chillies.
Process in the food mixer, or finely chop while wearing gloves.
Place the chopped chillies in a pot with  salt, cumin, tomato paste and the pan-roasted coriander and caraway seeds and simmer for half an hour on low heat
When it has cooked down puree the harissa.
Boil and puree a carrot, mix it into the chilli paste. 
Spoon the harissa into a clean glass jar, and cover with a layer of olive oil and keep in the fridge. Harissa also freezes well (spread flat in freezer bags, break off pieces to defrost as needed).