Monday, September 17, 2012

Some Like It Hot! Harissa. Kitten Style.

I fell in love with harissa on a trip to Sydney. I found it in a little supermarket in Oxford Street and foolishly thought it was a dip. As my mouth burned, I fell in love with the smokey, spiced flavour.
I haven't been able to find one like it since.
When I can't find something that tastes like a memory, I eventually make it myself.
In our back garden, we have an abundant chilli plant that just keeps fruiting. Chilli plants are so easy to grow. They are really no fuss and fruit regularly.
So today was the day. Also, I awoke with a cold. I was feeling pretty crap at work yesterday and lo and behold I am now sneezing like sneezy smurf. Sneezing is fun. Snot is not.
Hopefully this paste will burn the shit out of my sinuses. Literally and figuratively.

You can use harissa to add a little heat and flavour to sandwiches, soups, casseroles and curries. It works amazingly as a marinade too. I'm having a bunch of people over for a soup night tomorrow and I'm bringing my Moroccan Chickpea Soup to the table. This harissa will work wonderfully in it.

TIme: About 20 minutes. 
Makes: About a cup. 


  • 3 teaspoons of cumin seeds. 
  • 3 teaspoons of coriander seeds. Use ground spices if you don't have a spice mill or mortar and pestle.
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped.
  • 2 cups of red chillies, stems removed.
  • 5 Tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Generous shakes of salt and pepper. 

Place the spices in a saucepan and place over medium to high heat on a stove. Stir for a few minutes until they are nicely roasted. 
Take them off the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, grind them until they are fine. 

In the saucepan, sauté the garlic in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes. 

Place the garlic, chillies and all of the other ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until it becomes a paste. It may take about five minutes and you will have to scrape the sides with a spatula every now and again.

Store in a sterilised jar or plastic container in the fridge.

It should be fine for a couple of months.

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