I was never planning on making homemade harissa.
Until I saw this recipe in my new favourite cookbook, The First Mess. It is as prolific as it is versatile, and contains an abundant amount of delicious meals.
This one comes from a recipe for creamy harissa lentils, so I couldn’t say no.
Also, what better way to offset the chocolate hearts than with a spicy, sweet, brown/red sauce that has many purposes?
Enter: Homemade Harissa.
Slightly adapted from The First Mess
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
3 tabelspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3-4 small red chili peppers, seeded and chopped (optional – I omitted these for the little one and it turned out great)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, stir and toast the caraway, cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes (I gave it about 5). Transfer the toasted spices to a food processor or blender. (I found my food processor did not grind all the seeds well enough, so ended up using my Vitamix with great results.) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you have a smooth paste (or in our case, until one of your children stirs from sleep from all the loud noise). Taste it to make sure it is to your liking. At first I found it quite sour so used more salt than I anticipated, which, together with the coconut sugar, balanced out the sourness.
- Scoop it into a jar and refrigerate or enjoy immediately! (Get creative: you can add harissa to roasted veggies, salad dressings, hummus, veggie burgers, etc!)