It is worth making your own harissa as some commercial pastes tend to be fiery but a little bitter and one-dimensional. With home-made harissa, you can really taste the spices and the chillies, and as it lasts well in the fridge, you can make enough to last for a couple of weeks. Harissa is traditionally served with couscous, eggs or bread, but gives zip to any dish. At Moro we also put it with grilled squid or brik.
|250g||long fresh red chillies|
|3 heaped tsp||coarsely ground caraway seeds|
|3 heaped tsp||coarsely ground cumin seeds|
|1 level tsp||ground black cumin seeds (optional)|
|100g||piquillo peppers, or 1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded|
|1 dsp||tomato purée|
|1 dsp||red wine vinegar|
|2 level tsp||sweet smoked Spanish paprika|
|6 tbsp||extra virgin olive oil|
|Sea salt and black pepper|
You will need a food processor with a sharp blade.
It is advisable to wear rubber gloves when preparing the chillies. Slice the chillies in half lengthways. Lay each chilli on a chopping board cut-side up, gently scrape away the seeds with a teaspoon and discard them. Roughly chop the chillies and transfer to a food processor with a sharp blade. Blend the chillies with a pinch of salt, half of each of the spices and the garlic cloves until smooth. Then add the peppers and blend. It is important that the paste is as smooth as possible. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Now add the remaining ingredients - the rest of the spices, the peppers, tomato purée, vinegar, paprika and olive oil. Taste and season with more salt to balance out the vinegar. Harissa keeps well in the fridge, but be sure to cover it with a little olive oil to seal it from the air.