Harissa. Photo: Tony Jackman

Harissa is Tunisian, but is also used in Moroccan cuisine, often in a milder form.

1 large, very ripe red pepper, intact
Half a teaspoon each of cumin, whole coriander and caraway seeds
45ml olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
3 red chillies, seeded and chopped
45ml tomato paste
2 Tbs lemon juice
Half a teaspoon of salt

On a high gas flame, burn the pepper on all sides until the skin is blackened.

Place in a bowl, cover and cool to room temperature.

Peel off the blackened skin and discard this and the seeds.

In a pan over a low flame, toast the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds until they start to crackle, and then grind to a powder. I used the grinder part of a blender.

Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil for two minutes, add the chillies and cook for 10 minutes, stirring.

Blend everything, including the ground spices, until it’s a smooth, thick paste. DM


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