River Cottage

Harissa paste recipe

For the dare devils out there - Hugh's North African hot red paste is made of chilli peppers that will blow you away


Makes 2 x 112g jars

  • 250g tomatoes

  • 100g hot chillies, such as Scotch bonnets
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 100g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50ml olive or hempseed oil


How to make harissa paste

1. Drop the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds, then scoop them out. Peel off the skins.

2. Remove the stalks and calyxes from the chillies. The seeds and membranes inside the chilli contain most of the heat: you can choose to leave all the seeds in or, for a less intense paste, halve the chillies and cut at least some of the seeds out. To be honest, if you use Scotch bonnets, the paste will be pretty fiery whatever you do! Chop the chillies roughly.

3. Put the caraway, cumin and coriander in a dry frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan to make sure they don't burn.

4. Put the skinned tomatoes, chillies, toasted spices, garlic, shallots and salt in a food processor and blitz until well blended. Tip into a small saucepan and heat until boiling then simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced and starting to thicken. Leave to cool. Pack into warm, sterilised jars, leaving a 1cm gap at the top. Pour oil over the paste to completely cover it. Seal the jars. Store in the fridge and use within 4 months.

5. If you want to extend the shelf life of the paste, pack in small, sealable containers and freeze. Once opened, keep in the fridge, making sure the paste in the jar is completely covered by a layer of oil.

© River Cottage


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