Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Last night for dinner I made meatballs and cous cous with eggplant in it, loosely based on a Natalia Schamroth recipe from Cuisine. The dish had a real Moroccan flavour to it and the lamb meatballs called for harissa. So I decided to make my own. I have only made harissa once before when I followed a Greg Malouf recipe. The one I made last night is from Neil Perry’s book “The food I love”. He actually has three different harissa recipes in the book. I went for the one that was the most mild. It also had roasted red peppers in it.

Harissa is a condiment used in middle eastern cuisines. It is almost like a hot chilli paste, but sometimes includes cumin and coriander seeds which give it an interesting texture. I used some little birds eye chillies that I had in the freezer (see photo below). It can be used as a kind of sauce (similar consistency to pesto) for dishes such as lamb and chicken, but it can also be used to flavour things like meatballs and cous cous.

The harissa will keep for ages in the fridge. The meatballs were really tasty and I served them with the cous cous which had roasted eggplant in it as well as lots of parsley and lemon juice, and natural yoghurt. I always buy Cyclops yoghurt, not just because the owner’s brother is a really good friend of ours, but because it is organic and I love the creamy texture and slightly sour taste. It is good for savoury and sweet dishes.

Harissa (from Neil Perry’s “The Food I Love”)

2 roasted red peppers
2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, ground
½ tsp toasted coriander seeds, ground
2 cloves garlic
4 small hot chillies, or to taste
60 ml good olive oil (I only used 30ml)
sea salt to taste

Place everything in blender and blend to a smooth puree. Keep in the fridge

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