Harissa paste & harissa butter
This versatile North African spice paste will enliven many of your dishes. Why not give it a go?
Harissa paste
Harissa Butter
Harissa paste
  1. Char the capsicum over a flame or under a grill until the skin is blackened all over. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or so. Rub the blackened skin from the capsicum and remove the stem, seeds and inner membranes. Avoid washing the capsicum under running water as this will wash away the beautiful juices. Set aside.
  2. Cut the stems off the arbol chillies and discard them. Shake out the seeds and get rid of those, but leave them in if you like your heat. Pour boiling water over the arbol chillies and chiltepins, set aside for 20 minutes to soften.
  3. Place the cumin and caraway seeds and crumbled cinnamon into a small pan over medium heat. Toast until aromatic. Do not burn! Grind the toasted spices and smoked paprika flakes in a mortar, or if you have a spice grinder, blitz to a powder.
  4. Place the capsicum, drained chillies, ground spices and remaining harissa ingredients into a jug. Using a stick blender, blend to a paste. Check for seasoning.
  5. Keep refrigerated and use within 3 weeks, or freeze any excess.
Harissa butter
  1. Using an electric blender, mix the butter until smooth. Add the ground fennel and harissa and continue blending until combined.
  2. Scoop the harissa butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a 4 cm log, and roll tightly into the plastic. Twist the ends to tighten even more.
  3. Refrigerate overnight before using, so the flavours can develop. Alternatively, freeze the butter for up to 3 months. You can easily cut chunks off it while it’s frozen, keeping the excess frozen.