Harissa: Tunisia’s national sauce
Four centuries after the beginning of hot pepper cultivation in Tunisia, harissa is part of everyday life, wherever you are in the Arab world. Native to Tunisia and North Africa, harissa is a leading spice in the Middle East. Composed of a puree of red chilli peppers and present in many Tunisian and Berber dishes, harissa can also accompany simple dishes such as rice or couscous. Once crushed, the red peppers that make up harissa are enriched with salt, garlic, oil and spices to achieve its characteristic taste.
As popular as our mayonnaise, harissa is quite different. It awakens the taste buds, while leaving a pleasant smoky sensation. Because harissa is tasty without being too intense according to the Scoville scale. “As a general rule, we’ll use a fairly average pepper, nothing too strong,” explains Arik of Vienna, co-owner of La Dépense, a spice shop in Montreal. Souad Abderrahman’s recipe is very simple: chilli pepper and a few ingredients. “You add salt, vinegar and garlic, and then it has to be fermented for about a week. We brew it every day, 2-3 times a day. “But depending on the recipes, this sauce can be much more elaborate.
Nutritional qualities of harissa
Very rich in water, harissa is also a source of many nutrients. Among the ingredients that make it up are:
- a puree of sweet chilli peppers
vitamins B2, B6, C and E
trace elements such as sodium, copper and manganese
capsaicin, an active compound that acts both as a natural anti-inflammatory and provides antioxidants that protect cells from premature aging due to free radicals.
Health Benefits of harissa
Consumed regularly, harissa is reputed to allow the body to burn more fat. Indeed, the harissa :
- stimulates the production of saliva from the very beginning of digestion
allows a greater release of digestive enzymes
speeds up the digestion process
stimulates the conversion of fat into energy
protects the body from infectious diseases such as colds and viruses, especially during the winter.
Good to know: harissa can thus accompany a strict diet with a view to losing weight and its consumption must be coupled with regular physical activity.
Afritibi market offers you a harissa sauce of the brand FLAMME du CAP BON.
- Radio Canada