Harissa paste is a traditional Tunisian condiment which is used in marinating meat, fish, vegetables and mixed with couscous. Harissa is used mostly in North African cuisine and inspired by the variations out there, I have a created an Indian spiced inspired paste. In this recipe I have combined the process of making the ever popular Ghanaian 'Shito' (black chilli, herring and shrimp sauce) with the traditional way of making Harissa. You can get most ingredients from most exotic grocers.
You can use any dry chilies you prefer, try using smoky chipotle along with red birds eye chilli for a smoky taste. In this recipe I have used round chillies and Kashmiri chillies. Enjoy!
200g round chillies
200g of Kashmiri Chillies
50g of cumin seeds
50g fennel seeds
50g dill seeds
50g of coriander seeds
50g of Ajwan / Carom seeds
20g of wild thyme
25g of peeled and chopped ginger
2 tablespoons of tomato paste or 100g of sundries tomato
2 roughly chopped shallots
1 teaspoon of muscovado sugar
80ml of malt vinegar or juice of 2 large lemons.
100ml of cooking olive oil
100ml of extra olive oil
Salt to taste
Place your dry chillies in a pot, add hot boiling water, cover with a lid and leave for at least an hour.
This will soften the chillies, which will be easier to blend.
Place your dill, fennel, carom, cumin and coriander seeds in a saucepan on a medium heat.
Toast your spices, making sure you stir continuously for about 4 minutes or until you could smell the spices.
Remove immediately from the heat and tranfer to a blender.
To the blender add the shallots, ginger
and a little water.
Blend to a thick paste and reserve
Place a saucepan or clay pot on a medium heat.
Add 100 ml of cooking olive oil
Then add your spice and ginger mix
Cook this gently for about 10 minutes (making sure you stir the sauce to prevent it from burning)
Add your preferred tomato and cook further for another 5 minutes.
Remove the chillies from the water.
Place the soaked chillies into the blender and blend to a paste.
Add the chilli paste to the sauce, adding a little bit of water to clean the blender and adding it to the sauce.
Cook for about 10 minutes and add your vinegar or lemon juice. Cook for another 10 minutes and add your sugar.
At this stage your sauce should have thickened into a paste (if not keep cooking till you have a paste)
Add salt to taste and cook for another minute.
Take the sauce off the heat and add 100ml of extra virgin oil.
Stir and leave to rest.
Once cooled tranfer your sauce into a mason jar and refrigerate.
This will last for 6 months but I doubt there will be any left, as you might just finish it.
Use your Harissa as a condiment, marinade or mix with your couscous, Gari etc
Harissa is best with most poultry, vegetables, fish and meat.
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