Monday, August 4, 2008

Harissa paste - how to make your own

I made this gorgeously vibrant Harissa paste last night to marinate some chicken for this evening's meal, but it can be used in many ways, much like a curry paste. It originates from North Africa and can be used to spice up anything from vegetables to lamb. Mixed with yoghurt it makes a great marinade.

I used part of a recipe from my favourite book of the moment - Ottolenghi - the cookbook. The full deal includes a tasty red grapefruit and rocket salad, all topped off with a grapefruit and maple syrup sauce, I will leave it to you to buy the book to see the full monty. It comes highly recommended by me and is one of few cookbooks to get 100% 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Harissa paste - makes enough to marinade 8 chicken thighs

1 red pepper
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
1 dried chilli
2 fresh red chillies

1. Skin the pepper by scorching it over a gas hob, or under a very hot grill until it's black and blistered. Pop it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Once it's cool, the skin should peel off easily.

2. Meanwhile, put the caraway, coriander and cumin into a dry frying pan and fry until fragrant (it should only take a couple of minutes - shake it around a bit to make sure it doesn't burn). Pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
3. Chop the onion and garlic roughly (it's all going in the food processor later anyway...), chop and deseed both types of chillies. Put it all in a hot frying pan with a glug of olive oil and fry for 20 mins or so, until it's nicely golden but not burnt.

4. Put everything (that's skinned peppers, crushed and roasted spices, and golden onions & chillies) into the magimix, along with the salt and lemon juice. Whiz to a brilliant orange paste and you're done.

If you want to know what to do with your Harissa, why not try some of the following recipes:

Mini lamb sliders with harissa sauce & toasted cumin buns - so cute!
Tomato pepper stew with poached eggs and harissa - zingy
Harissa spaghettini - comforting

And, don't forget that harissa keeps well in the fridge for a few days, just cover it with some olive oil. I would also hazard a guess that it freezes too.

The Princess


Michelle said...

I just bought the Ottolenghi cookbook this week - I am going to cook from it on Friday, such an inspirational book - even before trying the recipes!

alexthepink said...

Yes, fabulous isn't it! I've only tried two recipes so far, but they've both been fantastic. Hope your recipe goes well too...

Jeena said...

Lovely harissa recipe. :-)

ritu said...

Nice Recipe. I will definitely try it out.

ritu said...

Nice Harissa Recipe. I will definitely try it out