I can barely keep with Sensi’s global peripatetic, for this week, we reached North Africa. Personally, I had never tried Harissa, so my palate has again been educated and I am very pleased about it. You can easily buy this stuff ready made. But that’s no fun. Even Redeye, with his whimsical fearful ways was up for making this from scratch, especially as it will last for a couple of months in the fridge. I say that it will last but the one we made at MCC did not. Gert Lush, as they say in Tunisia.



  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 2 Green chili
  • 2 Red chili
  • 5 chunky garlic cloves
  • A teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 punch of cumin
  • 1/2 punch of corriander
  • 2 seconds of olive oil

First off turn the grill on so it gets good and hot while you halve and de-seed the pepers and chilis. Pop them under the grill to blacken and blister the skins. When they are blistered, put them in a bowl with cellophane over the top and leave to cool down. Then marvel, as hey presto, the skins simply fall away, perhaps with a little knife encouragement.


When the peppers and chilis are blackening, roast the fennel seeds. Easiest way to do this is pop them into a dry fring pan and heat them up. Keep them moving about so they don’t burn and roast them for about 2 – 3 mins, when you will able to smell the fennel. When roasted, grind them up. You could do this in a manly style with pestle and mortar (a bowl and a stick) or take a leaf from Sensi’s book and use a coffee grinder.

Next to the blender. Peel the garlic and whizz them up in the blender. Add a pinch of saffron and the skinned peppers and chilis. More blending. Then chuck in the cumin, cooriander, roasted ground fennel and 2 seconds of extra virgin olive oil. A final blend and you are left with a fiery, aromatic paste.


One taste and I can feel the Scirroco blowing accross my cheek.

Harissa is a must with cous cous, can be used as a marinade on pork or chicken, or just smeared on bread.


10 thoughts on “Harissa”

  1. If you like harissa you should also try smearing some on some bread before making a cheese toastie. Of course you can also do this with mustard or pesto for some great different tastes.

  2. Patrick- What a great site and great link with your father’s http://www.floydonline.com.
    Marvellous responses that make you want to try the receipes and eat in the style of suggestions posted- thanks to the Jon Sacker for his idea of toasted cheese with harissa spread underneath- keep up the good work. Hugh McHardy

  3. I just found a small portion of harissa lurking in the back of the fridge. there’s not a lot in, as my lovely wife has put tubbs here on a diet. But…. a cream cracker with a smearing of harissa, slice of pastrami and a slice of edam – grilled. bloody great.

  4. I really like the sound of this recipe, but could you please tell me what “TWO SECONDS of extra virgin olive oil” means?

  5. We’re a bit haphazard with our measurements. 🙂 assuming that the oil bottle has some kind of nozzle (they usually do), it’s literally 2 seconds worth of pouring. About 5/6 tablespoons.

    This Harissa is really good and easy to make.

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