WARNING: Wear disposable gloves when handling chillies!
I was cutting up some long pale green Greek chillies (extremely mild) not that long ago and as they were so mild tasting I didn't bother with gloves. Did I ever pay the price! About 10 minutes later my hands started to burn and I immediately went for a dive thinking an hour in the water
would soak away all the capsaicin. No luck. They were still on fire when I hopped out.
Milk with ice relieved the pain while the mix was cold, but provided no subsequent relief. I tried all the other internet
suggestions of vaseline and baking powder and oil
. No joy. It took nearly six hours to start settling. Lesson learned the hard way
Harissa is my favourite way of adding heat to a dish, but it is rare as hen's teeth on Greek islands
, so I have made up a batch. Hoping for extra longevity from the mix, I dried the chillies slightly first to get rid of most of the moisture and used a fair bit of oil
. This mix is divine. The heat will depend on the chillies selected and whether or not you choose to include their seeds.
I will reach for this whenever a recipe calls for chiilies. It is also excellent added to extra virgin olive oil and drizzled over olives (or feta) and left to marinate a couple of hours or longer.
20 (approx 600g) long fresh red chillies, end cut off and split lengthwise
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced roughly
1 teaspoon rock salt
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint leaves, stems discarded
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (reserve a bit for topping)
- Lay the chillies cut side up on a lined tray and leave to dry a day or two (until most of the moisture is out, but they are not bone dry) and roughly chop them
- Grind the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds
- Lightly heat the seeds with a couple of tablespoons of the oil to help release the flavour
- Combine all the ingredients and process with a stick mixer
- Store in a glass jar with the reserved olive oil on the top
Makes one 400g jar: