Fiery Harissa Paste
makes about 2 cups
Chillies can vary enormously in their intensity which makes cooking with them a big moving target.
I tend to use less chillies and keep the seeds in because it’s quicker and I like the heat. Feel free to deseed if you prefer a milder harissa. Or increase the chilli count if you are more dare-devilish.
1 jar roasted red peppers (450g / 16oz), drained
10 small red chillies,
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Place peppers, chilli, paprika, caraway seeds and lemon juice in a food processor. Whizz until you have a smooth-ish paste.
2. Stir through 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season.
Will keep for a month or so in the fridge. OK for a few days out of the fridge if you need to post or transport your gift somewhere.
home cooked peppers – grill, cool and peel red peppers yourself if you can’t find jarred ones or prefer to do things from scratch.
Problem Solving Guide
too hot – add more olive oil to balance it out.
bland – add more chillies and season.
don’t have a food processor? – just finely chop everything toghether by hand. The mixture will be more chunky and rustic but still absolutely delicious.
can’t find smoked paprika? – just skip it or try regular paprika.
Needs an air tight container. I like glass jars.
red peppers (capsicum), chilli, lemon, carraway seeds, paprika
as a sauce – serve (sparingly) straight from the jar with roast veg, roast chicken or grilled halloumi. Pretty much works anywhere you’d normally use a chilli sauce.
as a marinade – mix with a little olive oil and rub over tofu, chicken or meat before roasting , grilling or BBQing. Serve with extra harissa on the side.
in soups – either stir through to add spice and heat or serve as a dollup on top – a more exotic alternative to pesto
salad dressing – combine with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil for a potato salad dressing with a kick