Written by Sophie

Harissa is a great addition to any meal, a bit like pesto.  You can spread it on meats and fish, mix it into dips or dressings for added flavour and mix it into quinoa, rice or even mashed potato!  Perfect to have in the fridge for a quick and tasty dinner.

In some countries it is very hard to find harissa paste in the supermarket or it is ridiculously priced (I’m sorry, I am talking about Singapore again).  So, after a bit of research and practise, I have come up with an easy-to-follow recipe that contains straight-forward ingredients that are easy to find.  And if I do say so myself, it is really good!  It had the Squirrel family seal of approval over the weekend.


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 40ml olive oil


1) Fry the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

2) Tip spice mix into a blender and grind to a fine powder, then transfer to a bowl.

3) Put the garlic, onion, chillies, red pepper and olive oil into a blender or food processor and blend/process until all the ingredients are well combined and resemble a paste (nb. don’t add the the spices yet)

4) Pour the paste into pan (no extra oil needed) and cook for 15 minutes, stirring throughout.  With about 1-2 minutes to go, once the mixture has become much drier and sticky.

5) Pour in the spices and salt and mix until they are completely incorporated into the mixture.  This shot is to show you that it does take some elbow grease and doesn’t look like picture perfect straight away.

6) You then have yourself a delicious harissa paste which you can keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

A little recipe idea….simply score the tops of a chicken breast, and spread the harissa paste over.  You can also add yoghurt and marinate in advance if you prefer a creamier texture.  Add anything else you like to the traybake such as red onions, peppers, butternut squash and roast for 20-25 minutes (ensuring the chicken doesn’t dry out!