Originally from North Africa, harissa is a charming and fierce hot paste/sauce that contains mainly chili peppers, red peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil. The name Harissa comes from the Arabic verb harasa meaning “to pound” or “break into pieces” and refers to the action of crushing the dried chilies. Harissa remains a staple as a Moroccan condiment, much like Ketchup, Tabasco, or Siracha is in the Canadian food-service industry. In Moroccan cuisine harissa is used as a seasoning for tagines and couscous, and as a spread, as well as often being used in harira and lentil soup.
Many chefs also add it to marinades for chicken, beef, fish, or tofu; slather it on sandwiches, or even dollop some on a burger for an unforgettable twist!