Harissa is synonymous with Tunisian cuisine, and can easily be bought from the supermarket, pre-made. However, there is something special about making your own from scratch. It is earthy, full bodied and glorious when you roast the components yourself. Allowing them to char just a bit in the oven gives the finished dish a vibrant and fire-kissed aesthetic, especially if you plan to use this as a marinade for grilled meats. It is best to use very tender cuts of meat for this recipe since the kebabs go straight from marinade, to the oven, to your plate. You can also further tenderise the meat by placing it in a strong ziploc bag, and bashing it with a rolling pin prior to coating it in the harissa. Deliciousness for days.
1kg (2.2lb) of beef, pork, or chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
3 red large bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 tomatoes, halved
2 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
1 small onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic
Salt and black pepper
Lemon or lime juice (or vinegar as a substitute)
- To make the harissa, place all the peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic onto a foil lined baking tray and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season well with salt and black pepper and roast in the oven at 180*C (375*F) for 35 minutes, or until soft, and slightly browned at the edges.
- While those are in the oven, place the meat onto skewers, about four or five cubes per skewer and set out on a tray.
- When the vegetables are done roasting, bring them out of the oven and let them cool slightly. Then blitz them in a food processor with the lemon juice, more olive oil and a tad more salt to make the harissa nice and strong. You can process this sauce according to your taste. Feel free to blend until smooth, but I like mine slightly more textured and rustic.
- Now, coat the meat skewers generously in the harissa sauce, and then bake in the oven at 200*C (392*F) until the juices run clear, about 30 minutes.
- Serve hot.
Tip – Harissa can be made in advance and stored in the fridge, ready for whenever you need it.
This recipe is from Season 1 Episode 7 of Minjiba Entertains, commissioned by The Africa Channel and showing on RealTime DSTV Channel 155, Emirates in-Flight Entertainment, Amazon Prime, and Demand Africa.