Sure, you can buy Harissa, but making your own is so worth it.
This North African / Middle Eastern paste is a favourite in Tunisian cuisine, but can be found all over the Mediterranean in different dishes. As well as adding a beautiful warmth to your cooking, this paste is:
- peppery; and
Harissa is a fantastic go-to ‘ingredient’ for keeping in the fridge, because it adds something special to so many different dishes, without much effort at all. Your friends will be impressed.
Here are five of my favourite things to add this little zinger to:
- egg-free shakshuka (a gorgeous brunch recipe that I’ll be sure to share with you soon);
- in place of the Tapenade in this Mini Quiche recipe;
- stirred into homemade soup;
- spread on a lovely slice of rye topped with pickles; and
- baked with chickpeas, which is one of the special ingredients for my next recipe – so stay tuned!
This Harissa is also really simple to make: like the aubergine-scorching in my Baba Ghanoush, the secret to smokiness is burning the peppers under a hot grill. Just remember to prop open the kitchen window first…
So here it is – a simple, delicious and super versatile recipe for Harissa. How will you use yours?
- 2 red peppers (I like to use the pointed variety)
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp olive oil (optional)
- 1 red chilli, chopped (remove the seeds for a milder flavour)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp pepper or tomato purée
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- Black pepper
- Turn the grill to high and place the peppers on a foil-lined tray.
- Grill the peppers for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. They should take on a blackened appearance.
- While these are charring, add the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds to a frying pan and toast on a moderate heat, for about 5 minutes. You should be able to smell the aromas being released, but be careful not to burn the spices.
- Tip the spices into a food processor and set aside.
- Add the chilli,onion and garlic to the pan (and a little oil if you need to) and cook for 5 minutes or so until softened.
- The peppers should be ready now, so you can peel off the blackened skin and remove the seeds - being careful not to burn your fingers! Place the peppers in the food processor.
- Add to these the cooked chilli, onion and garlic, and the pepper/tomato purée. Blitz until you have a paste.
- Return the paste to the frying pan, stir in the lemon juice and black pepper and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Once cooled, this can be kept in a sterilised jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
If whole, vegan sauces are your thing, here’s a Cashew Lime Sour Cream and a wonderful Spicy Marinara.