RECIPE: #StayHome harissa paste [v]

This North African pepper paste is so distinctive, punchy, fragrant and summery. Honestly, I was sceptical that it could be recreated at home. Not only can it be recreated but it genuinely rivals and even out-punches the generally pretty tasty shop-bought jars.

This is a simplification of the harissa recipe in Jerusalem.

Makes a small jarful
Roasted red pepper 100g from a jar, or 1 whole fresh
Coriander seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Caraway seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Red onion 1 small, finely chopped
Garlic 3 cloves, coarsely chopped
Red chillies 3 coarsely chopped
Tomato puree 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice of 1/2
Salt 1/2 teaspoon & to taste

If you’re using a jar of roasted red peppers, something widely available here in central Berlin, skip the next step altogether.

Set a ring of your gas hob onto full, and place the fresh red pepper directly onto that ring. Keep turning until the entire exterior of the pepper has blackened. Alternatively, you can place the pepper under a very hot grill, turning occasionally for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool wrapped in foil or in a bowl covered with cling film, peel the pepper and discard its skin and seeds.

Place a dry frying pan over low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds for 2 minutes. Once fragrant, add them to a blender and whizz until a coarse powder. You still want a bit of texture.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, fry the onion, garlic, and chillies until dark and caramelised.

Transfer the rest of the ingredients to the blender and whizz altogether until smooth, adding a little more olive oil if needed.