Pin It
Submit to Reddit

Where to find it: Harissa 


Move over, Sriracha, harissa is the coolest hot condiment around. It's so trendy, jars of it can be found at Crate & Barrel at the SouthPark Mall ($5.95 for a 10-ounce jar).

Harissa has its roots in northern Africa, specifically Tunisia. The best Tunisian harissa comes from chilies grown in two coastal towns of that country: Nabeul and Gabès. But since chilies are indigenous to the New World, these peppers were probably introduced through trade with the Spanish centuries ago. These chilies look like a hybrid of red serranos, which has a Scofield rating of up to 25,000, and piri piri. In other words, this is not a "breathtaking" hot sauce.

When homemade, harissa paste is made by pestle in a mortar — the word harissa means to pound. The chili paste is combined with spices, garlic and oil. Small tins are available at several Middle Eastern grocery stores in town, including Halal International, 3120 North Sharon Amity Road. Among the types of harissa there are jars imported from Egypt (looks like a picante sauce), Turkey and Lebanon. But the small tins of Conserve d'Harissa ($1.39 in the size of a tomato paste can) made in Algeria are higher on the shelf. Owner Mohamad Suleiman is on hand to help.

Harissa is traditionally served with couscous, Moroccan tagines, soups, and slathered on sandwiches. In Lebanon, it is used in a popular fish dish. There is a hotter version of harissa found in southern Tunisia called harous, which adds onions, sometimes fermented, to the mix.

Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: or 704-522-8334, extension 136.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Latest in Connecting the Spots

Search Events

Photo Galleries

  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
» more slideshows
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation