Though you can buy prepared harissa in specialty food shops and in larger supermarkets, blending your own paste allows you to choose the flavor profile you desire. While it may look more like ketchup, Huda Biuk, a columnist at the Libyan Post, tells NPR that harissa is more comparable to mustard. Besides using it as a condiment in sandwiches, burgers, and on pizza, it has great success as an ingredient. Why not make a point to try harissa in a traditional North African dish such as harira (a vegetable and bean soup), tagine (a slow cooked stew), couscous, or shakshouka (eggs poached in a tomato based sauce)?
Harissa’s earthy flavor stands up well to heartier meats like lamb and adds plenty of depth to slowly simmering dishes. Next time you are looking for the perfect rub or marinade for a piece of meat or chicken wings, just use harissa. Add it to scrambled eggs, grain dishes, or toss it with vegetables to roast in the oven (via Food & Wine). For a quick variation and easy dip, mix it with hummus or yogurt to amp up the flavor.
Whether you slather it onto some bread and call it a day or spend hours simmering a warming stew for guests, harissa will surely add a spark to your meal.