500 g
William Meppem


Quantity Ingredient
6 roma tomatoes
350ml olive oil
2 red capsicums
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
3 birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped
2 long red chillies
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
150g tomato concentrate
50ml sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 bunch coriander, leaves chopped
1 bunch basil, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
2 lemons, juiced


  1. Preheat oven to 130°C.
  2. Fit a metal rack over a baking tray. Brush tomato halves with 50 ml of the olive oil and arrange on the rack. Char the capsicums over a flame on a gas burner or barbecue. Once charred and blistered, cut in half, brush with oil and place on the rack with tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until semi-roasted, season and allow to cool.
  3. Dry roast the fennel, cumin and caraway seeds in a frying pan over a medium heat, then blend together in a spice grinder or crush with a mortar and pestle. Heat the remaining olive oil in a deep frying pan, add onion, garlic and chillies and fry until soft, before adding the ground spices and smoked paprika. Cook gently for 5 minutes over a low heat. Add the tomato concentrate, vinegar and sugar.
  4. Coarsely chop the semi-roasted capsicums and add to the mixture with the tomatoes, add extra-virgin olive oil and cook gently for a further 20 minutes. Add salt to taste, then liquidise and strain. Finally add chopped herbs, nigella seeds and lemon juice to taste.

Chef’s note

  • Charring the capsicums imparts a delicate smoky flavour to the harissa. If you like your harissa really hot, use only birdseye chillies in the recipe.
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