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Harissa Sauce

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

Method

  1. Place the peppers and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skins have started to blister and bubble.
  2. 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.
  3. Place all other ingredients in with the peppers and blend to a smooth paste.
  4. Taste and season with salt & pepper and more chilli if required.
  5. 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.
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