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I love chillies and one of my favourite things to make with the last of the capsicums and chillies from my garden is harissa paste.

Harissa is a usual ingredient in North African and Middle Eastern cookery. It’s often served on the side or added to cooked dishes, and it is punchy, aromatic and delicious… try using it as a marinade or rubbing it onto meat before you cook it; add a spoonful to a pasta sauce or a salad dressing to add some bite or coat roasted veggies before you cook them.

Harissa Paste

Ingredients

  • 1 capsicum
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 fresh red chillies
  • ½ bunch fresh coriander

Method

1. Scorch the capsicum’s skin, seal it in a plastic bag for 5 minutes to soften, and then peel and de-seed it. Chop the flesh roughly.

2. Dry-fry the cumin seeds until fragrant. Grind them very finely in a pestle and mortar.

3. Mince the garlic, and finely chop the chillies (with rubber gloves on if you are sensitive).

4. Put the ground spice, all the other ingredients, and the olive oil in a mixer or food processor.

5. Blend until you get a thick paste.

6. Scoop it into a sterilized jar and put a bit of olive oil on top to prevent drying-out. The flavours will develop over time, so it may taste better if you leave it a day or two. It will keep in the fridge for a month or more…

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag #coromandelflavour – I love to see what you’ve been making and any feedback is really welcome.