One of Pete’s plans for 2010 is to establish a permaculture garden in our small suburban backyard. My mum donated one of her chilli plants to start us off and, even though it’s still in a pot, this small shrub has fruited abundantly – here’s just a small portion of our harvest!
I turned the chillies into harissa sauce, using a recipe I put together years ago. It’s adapted from a recipe in Dave Dewitt’s A World of Curries, and is very simple to make, providing you have a food processor (I use a mini one). The quantities are pretty loose – use whatever you have on hand in amounts that suit your personal preferences.
- 7 large red chillies, medium heat
- 4 red bullet chillies, hot
- 2 teaspoons caraway seed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika (I sometimes use smoked paprika)
- ½ teaspoon Malden salt flakes
- 30 or more fresh mint leaves
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves of peeled garlic
1. Wash and deseed the chillies. I usually wear gloves to do this, because I’m a wuss. For this batch, I used a dozen of our red chillies, as I didn’t have any long red ones.
2. Place the chillies, garlic and all the spices in the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Add the mint leaves and pulse to combine, then add the olive oil and enough water to create a thick sauce.
3. Scrape the harissa into a clean sterilised jar and cover it with a thin film of olive oil. Best to use the sauce within a couple of weeks, as it doesn’t have any vinegar or lots of salt to preserve it.
As I mentioned before, this is a very adaptable recipe, and I tend to use whatever chillies I have on hand, and then pack the little food processor with as many mint leaves as I can jam in. I also prefer to use spearmint rather than peppermint, if given a choice. Allow a couple of days for the flavours to meld together, then serve on everything from carrot sticks to roast chicken!