Speciality cooking pastes, pestos and curry pastes are now widely available in supermarkets and deli’s. These are often great to have in the kitchen as they manage to add so much flavour to a dish or meal without you needing to add many other ingredients.
One of my favourite pastes to make and keep in the fridge is harissa paste, a spicy chilli paste often used in North African cooking. And it’s so quick and easy to make, that it’s really not worth paying a premium for it in store. My version below is not too hot, but adapt the flavours or spices to your taste. And then use it to spice up your everyday meals! In the next week I’ll post two recipes using the harissa paste, a delicious spicy potato salad as well as spicy chicken with lemon couscous.
Makes 200 ml
10 ml cumin seeds
5 ml cardamom seeds (gently crush pods to remove seeds)
5 ml caraway seeds
5 ml coriander seeds
10 – 15 fresh chillies, roughly chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, crushed
5 ml salt
80 – 100 ml tomato paste
30 ml olive oil
- Heat an AMC 16 cm Low over a medium temperature until the Visiotherm reaches the first red area. Place seeds in unit and toast until fragrant, being careful not to burn the seeds. Spoon out and allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.
- Place the spices along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. Add a little more oil if the paste seems too dry and add more tomato paste if needed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, topped with olive oil to keep the paste moist. Use this spicy paste in a variety of ways.
- This paste can last up to 1 month if stored in the fridge.
- Use harissa paste as a marinade or rub for meat, fish or chicken. You could also mix with yoghurt or olive oil to thin it down.
- Use as a hot sauce for dipping crudités or to top crackers or make a spicy dip with cottage cheese or hummus mixed with harissa.
- Stir some harissa paste through couscous to spice it up and add to soups and stews for extra flavour.
- Spread harissa paste on sandwiches or use to add a bite to your wraps.