What is Harissa?
Harissa is a paste made of roasted red peppers, chili peppers, garlic and spices. It has a creamy, smooth texture and a smoky, spicy flavor. It is used as an ingredient in North African dishes such as dips, stews and soups.
...Botanically the chili pepper is a fruit, in culinary terms it is a vegetable. There are a number of varieties of red chili peppers. Some common ones used for spice powders and seasonings include the piri piri, cayenne, and chile de árbol, among others. Each pepper is red and has a thin skin with a thin flesh and seeds inside the middle of the pepper. The shape varies, but is often thin and tapered. The heat level varies also, depending on the type of pepper. Some are mildly hot, while other red chilies are scorching and fiery. The pepper can be used fresh in many dishes, as well as dried or powdered.
...Paprika is a spice made made not from one type of pepper but from multiple varieties of sweet peppers and chili peppers. Common paprika is not spicy, but some paprika will be mildly spicy if hotter peppers are used. The pepper is dried and ground into a fine red power used to season savory dishes. The flavor is both sweet and pungent with a hint of bitterness that can emerge when it is cooked.
...Cumin is a spice used in many cuisines around the world. The seed from which cumin is ground is a thin seed with a long body and tapered ends. Cumin is just a few millimeters in length and has a light brown or tan tone, which can look a bit grey. Ground cumin is light brown and has a flavor that is spicy, earthy and a little nutty. When pan heated, the flavor of cumin is both tempered and enhanced.
...Caraway seeds are tiny seeds with a thin, gently curved body and earthy brownish grey color. They are collected from the caraway plant that has many edible parts, including roots and leaves. These seeds have a flavor that is reminiscent of fennel and anise, though stronger and less sweet. They are commonly used in European and American breads and soups.
...Fennel seeds are tiny thin seeds with tapered ends and a ridged body. Their color is a muted beige with a hint of occasional green. Fennel seeds can be ground into powder, though are more commonly used whole. The flavor is fresh, spicy and a bit similar to anise. This seed is used to flavor sausages, rice dishes and savory breads.
...Garlic is used in cuisines around the world and is extremely popular for its depth of flavor. The garlic bulb forms underneath the soil and is harvested once it reaches maturity. The bulb typically has thin, dry, white and flaky skin, surrounding the individual cloves. Often there are 10-12 cloves to a bulb/head of garlic. The cloves are cream colored with a strong smell and flavor that is spicy and sharp. Garlic takes on a nutty flavor in addition, when cooked. It is used in countless dishes, sauces, breads and more.
...Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. These seeds are a warm beige color with a round and slightly oblong body and a pointy, yet harmless top. The seeds taste citrusy, warm, nutty and spicy. Coriander is popular in various cuisines, including Indian and Latin cooking.
...The peppercorn plant grows in tropical climate and produces tiny black fruit. The fruit is dried and become hard. At this point it is ground into a textured powder comprised of black and grey dots. It has a flavor that is spicy, pungent and sharp. Pepper is an extremely popular spice, especially in Western cuisines and lends a gentle heat to dishes. There are different varieties of black pepper and the flavor changes subtly because of this.
...Ground cinnamon is a fine aromatic powder made from the bark of the cinnamon tree, also known as cassia; another variety. The bark is peeled from the tree, dried and ground into the warm brown powder that is known as cinnamon. The flavor is spicy, warm and sweet and savory at the same time. It is extremely popular in many cuisines and common in American desserts.
...Mint is a leafy herb with 13 to 18 species and grows in a bushy mass of thin stalks containing small, oblong green leaves with tapered ends. The leaves have indented lines and are delicate and get sturdier the more mature the plant is. They are highly aromatic and have a flavor that is green, zesty, sweet and ends on a cool note. Mint is used as a tea, sauce and herb to flavor sweet and savory foods.
...Ginger is a spice whose root is used in food around the world. The root is grown underground and has a hard body and thin beige skin. The root has many rounded and long shoots and is often fat. The flesh of the ginger is golden colored with a flavor that is earthy, spicy and bright. Ginger is made into tea, used in sauces, desserts and savory dishes.
...Parsley is an aromatic herb with slender green stalks and sturdy, small green leaves. There are two common types of parsley, curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. Italian parsley has a more robust flavor than curly parsley. Though each type tastes green, spicy and vegetal, with a hint of bitterness. Parsley is used as and herb to flavor dishes and as a garnish.
...Salt is a mineral composed mostly of sodium chloride. It is the main flavoring used in food and is naturally occurring in certain foods, such as cheese, beets, meat and celery, plus many others. Salt is white and has finer granules than sugar. Many commercial salts include iodide, while others exclude it. Most salts are white, while some are naturally pale pink with minerals. Salt brings out the flavor of something and can create a tangy mouthfeel, if used in excess.