Jalapeño harissa

Jalapeño harissa

A Year of Practiculture
250 g
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Each summer I go overboard with my chilli-planting. Most of the harvest ends up as salsa picante, which I’ll use all winter to rid me of the winter blues. But there’s so much fresh chilli at the end of summer that I can’t help finding new uses for it. Harissa is amazingly tasty, and at times it’s a bit dangerous – it just ends up being spread on bread and devoured. It has a bit of a punch to it, but it’s the spice party that gets my motor running. Garlic, cumin, coriander and, can you believe, not a hint of smoked pimentón (Spanish paprika)! Making your own harissa doesn’t take much time, and you can freeze the excess or store it for a week in the fridge. But it doesn’t last that long before it’s used to smother something. During the time there’s harissa in the house, everything starts tasting like harissa.

I’m not sure which chilli variety is traditionally used to make harissa, but I grow jalapeño because it’s prolific and has the perfect heat for my palate. But use whatever type of ripe red chilli you want. And you can also grill them before you begin. I’m sure there’s no such thing as harissa police. Or is there? Don’t tell anyone I use jalapeño!


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 large garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
10 red jalapeno chillies, ends removed, seeds in
1 lemon, juiced
large pinch salt


  1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until you start smelling spice town. Crush the seeds in a large mortar and pestle until they form a powder. Add the garlic cloves and crush them into a paste. Add enough of the olive oil to make a spice paste.
  2. Whizz the paste, chillies and lemon juice in a food processor until they form a smooth paste. Season with salt.
  3. Smother on everything!
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