Monday, June 23, 2008

Harissa 2

If you use the most widely available small, dried chillis (such as the Rajah brand) for my previous harissa recipe, you get a searingly hot concoction. Only when I saw this recipe, by Yotam Ottolenghi, did I realise that it was possible to temper the chillis with other ingredients. This is the version I made.

1 red pepper
2tsp dried chillis (for a milder version, but still with some kick, 1tsp would be fine)
1tsp of a mixture, according to taste, of cumin, caraway and coriander seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
A little salt

Bake the pepper in a gas mark 6/200C oven for 30 minutes, or until the skin blisters.

Pour boiling water over the chillis in a bowl.

In a small saucepan, and over a gentle heat, cook the spices until they give off a toasty aroma. Grind them in a mortar (or in the machine you use to make the harissa).

When the pepper is cool enough to handle, skin and deseed it. Drain the chillis.

You could grind together these ingredients by hand; but it would be hard work. I use a small, electric mill (Moulinex). Throw in all the ingredients, and pulse until smooth.

Decant into a glass jar, and cover with oil. If the harissa remains submerged, it should keep in the fridge for three weeks to a month.

This harissa was looser in texture than the stuff you buy in tins and tubes. After making it, I looked again at Ottolenghi's recipe, and saw that he included tomato paste. I shall try that next time -- although I wonder whether it might contribute a somewhat artificial flavour. I might also try adding fried onion and garlic, while being mindful that it is impossible to get a red onion "dark and smoky" after six to eight minutes' frying.

1 comment:

Hippolyra said...

Being totally hooked on chilli I think that I will have to try this, I like harrissa used in salad dressings, it works well with tahini as the creaminess helps to soften the heat.