At the farmers market last week there was a stall selling Harissa and giving out samples of it too. It’s not something I have tried before but as soon as I had sampled it I knew iI was hooked and this was going to be my new flavour of the season. I have to confess I didn’t buy any, instead it was like a red flag to a bull that challenged me to make my own. There are so many version of Harissa, with most regions in North Africa, where it originates, having their own version that I took a combination of several to produce what I thought would be similar to the one I had sampled. Not all Harissa contains sweet red peppers I discovered but the one I wanted the balance between the sweet and chilli peppers with the spices. The Harissa turned out exactly how I expected it to and I have a new bag of peppers in the fridge to make a new batch since we managed to consume two jars in ten days.
So what did I use the Harissa for? I tossed it through some stir fried vegetables. I used it in a vegan lasagna instead of a tomato base and I used it as a sauce over grilled fish. I have added a link if you would like to read more about the origins of Harissa and some more recipe ideas.
Ingredients – makes approx 400ml
- 6 red peppers/capsicum
- 1 medium chilli (the amount of chillies you use depends on how hot you want it, start with less then add more)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oli
- 3 tsp cumin seeds, ground
- 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
- Place the peppers and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skins have started to blister and bubble.
- Remove from the oven and place in a bowl with a plate on top so they sweat for 5 minutes (loosens the skin). Remove all the skin and seeds from the peppers and place in a blender or food processor.
- Place all other ingredients in with the peppers and blend to a smooth paste.
- Taste and season with salt & pepper and more chilli if required.
- Pour into a jar, cover harissa with a little oil and store in the fridge, will keep up to 10 days. Or you can freeze it in batches if you want to make a larger quantity.