Moroccan harissa paste

This aromatic paste is addictive, having so many uses. Here, I smothered it on fresh fish fillets, but it is equally delicious tossed on to roast vegetables and makes a great marinade for meat. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use the end of a rolling pin to grind the spices.

Makes 1½ cups

5 red chillies

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp caraway seed

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ cup jalapenos

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tbsp brown sugar

½ cup coriander leaves

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp salt

500g fish fillets

butter to cook


1. Char the chillies either over a gas flame or in a very hot oven until blackened. Peel and discard skin and seeds.

2. Toast the coriander, caraway and cumin seeds in a small frying pan. Grind the seeds to a powder using a mortar and pestle.

3. Place the chillies, ground seeds, jalapenos, garlic, sugar, coriander, lemon juice, oil and salt in a blender, blending to form the paste. Store, refrigerated, in a jar until needed.

4. Smother half a cup of paste on fish fillets and fry in a little butter until crispy and cooked through. —


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