Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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harissa a word with three meanings in the kitchen. First, it is a red paste of chilli pepper used in Tunisia, Morocco, and throughout N. Africa as a fiery hot ingredient. A common brand in cans bears a picture of an erupting volcano. This harissa, as traditionally made at home, consists of chilli peppers which are soaked and then pounded (harissa means pounded) with coriander, caraway, garlic, and salt, and moistened with olive oil. As Dr Gobert (1940) remarks, this is ‘always present and ready’ in a Tunisian household.