Any gourmand with a hankering for something spicy would be right at home in my kitchen, where the fridge is stocked with scorching sauces from every corner of the world. From Tabasco to Sambal Oelek and Sriracha, I'm extremely well-supplied in the store-bought specialties department.
I recently came to the conclusion, however, that I'm lacking somewhat in the homemade hot sauce category. Enter harissa, a fiery garlic and chili paste that hails from Tunisia and is used in stews, pasta sauces, grilled meats, and couscous. Although the chili paste is sold in tubes and jars at many supermarkets, it's easy — and much more fulfilling — to make from scratch yourself. See how I did so when you read more. 8 dried or 1 1/2 oz. new mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded Makes 1 cup.
8 dried or 2 oz. guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded (I substituted aji panca peppers)
1⁄2 tsp. caraway seeds
1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄4 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. dried mint leaves
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
8 dried or 1 1/2 oz. new mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
Makes 1 cup.