One of these days, when you have a spare half an hour or so, please make a batch of your own Harissa. Let this firey girl in to your kitchen and she will transform any dish. You need to play around with this paste when adding to your dishes. When starting out, don’t underestimate the powers of a Harissa paste! Definitely err on the side of caution. She is a hot little number!
Harissa is a spicy Moroccan paste made from chillies. Harissa can shine on the table, as a condiment, served as part of a Moroccan banquet, it can be added to braises and tagines and it also makes a sensational marinade for meat, fish or poultry. Stir a little through your cous cous or tossed through your barbecued vegetables – trumpets may sound!
30g (approx 10-12) dried hot red chillies, seeded
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of dried mint
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
4 black peppercorns
Juice of half a lemon
Discard the seeds from the dried chillies. Place chillies in hot water and soak to soften (approx 1 hour). Drain the chillies and chop finely once rehydrated.
For extra flavour, dry fry the spices in a dry frying pan. Be mindful they do not burn.
Pond the garlic and salt together in a mortar & pestle (alternatively, you can use a blender) until a smooth paste forms. Place the chopped chillies in a food processor and whizz to blend. Add the toasted spices and blend. Add all the other ingredients, including the lemon juice, garlic & salt paste and blend together. Add enough olive oil to form a smooth paste & whizz to combine. Store in sterilised jars in the refrigerator – ready for action!
Marinating the meat in the harissa and yoghurt will give you beautiful tender, moist and flavoursome pieces of chicken!
8 free-range boneless chicken thighs
4-5 teaspoons of harissa paste
2 generous tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
Combine the harissa paste and yoghurt in a plastic zip lock bag (these are super for marinating), zip up and massage the marinade in to the meat. Refrigerate for a minimum of an hour but really, the longer the better!
Preheat the oven to 220oC. Place the marinated chicken on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, leaving a little room between each. Cook at 220oC for the first 5 minutes and them immediately turn the oven down to 180oC. Continue cooking for 12 minutes. Now place the chicken under a hot griller, on the barbecue or in a hot frying pan for the last 3 minutes of cooking. This will crisp it up, give it a lovely colour and finish cooking it through.
I love to serve this with a wonderfully refreshing rocket and orange salad.
Happy cooking! Enjoy!
If you make this dish & it ‘wows’ you or you are already ‘head over heals’ in love with Harissa, feel free to post your comments. We’d love to hear from you!