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This fiery red paste is made of chillies, fresh or dried, coriander and cumin seeds and plenty of garlic. I have two different recipes, one that is so hot you only need a teaspoon and this one which , because it has a roasted red pepper as its base, is much milder and more akin to our kiwi tastes. I have also removed the seeds from the chilli peppers as they can be fire hot however, if you like having a scorched mouth, leave them in. Use the harissa to flavour up any of the other tagines, or add a dollop to a beef casserole or a hearty winter soup.


  • 2 red peppers
  • 8 long fresh red chillies
  • 1 tblsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼-½ cup oil (approximately)


  1. Grill the red peppers under a high heat until they have blackened all over. Wrap in foil or place in a covered plastic container and leave until cool. Peel away the charred skin and remove the core, but leave the seeds. Rinse away any blackened skin under running water.
  2. Split the chilli peppers in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and cut off the core end.
  3. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan for 3-4 minutes over a moderate heat until fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.
  4. Into a blender put the red pepper, chillies, spices, garlic and salt. Process until smooth and the spices are well blended in to the paste. Add the olive oil slowly until you have a thick paste of mayonnaise consistency.
  5. Store in a sterilised jar in the refrigerator
  6. This harissa will keep 2-3 weeks

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