Made with hot chilli peppers, garlic, citrus, oil and spices, harissa is a seriously tasty, fairly mild North African chilli paste that can do incredible things to chicken, lamb, fish and vegetables.
Traditionally, it’s made by pounding chillies into a rough paste – in fact, the word ‘harissa’ comes from the Arabic ‘harasa’, which means to pound or to break into pieces.
Harissa is one of Jamie’s favourite store-cupboard heroes, and keeping a jar in the fridge is one of your shortcuts to brilliant flavour whenever you need it. Add a spoonful to your burger or meatball mix; jazz-up seared salmon; rub it over chicken or veg before roasting; marble it through soup or houmous; use it in a marinade for steak, fish or tofu; or make your own cheat’s harissa mayo and serve it up with a big plate of crispy calamari. It’s also really good when paired with preserved lemons and fruit and nuts in salad recipes.
Rose harissa is also very popular. The addition of rose petals is delicate, fragrant and nicely balances the heat of the chillies. If you want to go the extra mile, try making your own tomato and rose petal harissa using rose petals from your garden – if they smell good, you’ll really notice their fragrance coming through.
Easy harissa roast chicken fajitas
This simple chuck-it-in-the-oven harissa chicken is a fun and simple way to serve a bunch of mates or a hungry family. Fragrant, sticky chicken; crispy spiced chickpeas; caramelised sweet potatoes; and a fresh, crunchy slaw, all loaded up into warm tortilla wraps – what more could you wish for?
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Shakshuka, my style
Fiery rose harissa adds warmth and a ray of sunshine to this one-pan wonder. Jamie’s twist on shakshuka uses chipped potatoes, squash and peppers for a colourful, veg-packed meal you can enjoy for brunch, lunch or dinner. All in one pan, you can save on the washing up and your energy bills, too.
Harissa sardines with couscous salad
Sardines take almost no time at all to cook and, like other oily fish, are great at taking on bold flavours. Make a quick sauce with harissa, olive oil and lemon juice; then brush it on the sardines as they’re cooking. Ripple the rest of the harissa sauce through a dollop of yoghurt and serve it alongside a Moroccan-style couscous salad – it all goes together perfectly.
Harissa chicken traybake
This gorgeous traybake number takes less than 10 minutes to prep, so we’re talking maximum flavour for minimum effort. Think of this as an alternative summer roast recipe with lovely peppers and fresh mint for bold flavour. If you don’t want to use a whole chicken, you can use chicken pieces – just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Harissa meatball wraps
Harissa adds a hit of spice and fragrance to these meatballs, which are fried then piled into wraps with crunchy veg and harissa yoghurt. Serve up the different elements separately and let everyone help themselves. And this recipe will give you two leftover portions, which you can freeze for another day. Winning!
Harissa squash salad
With just five ingredients, this simple salad still packs in real flavour thanks to the addition of rose harissa. Roast the squash with the harissa in an oven or air-fryer until soft, golden and gnarly; then serve it up with sliced avocado, creamy mozzarella and mixed salad leaves – great for your lunchbox!
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For more store-cupboard inspiration, check out Jamie’s store-cupboard heroes