Recipes R Simple

Harissa | North African Spice Paste

harissa Harissa | North African Spice Paste

How to make Harissa

Harissa | North African Spice Paste


Harissa is a North African spice paste, a condiment found everywhere in Morocco and Tunisia. It is also widely used in the Middle East. Popularly used in dips and marinades and can add a spicy kick to just about anything! In mayonnaise, hummus, burgers… the list goes on.

Although there are variations to Harissa, according to region, it is basically a red chilli paste. Fresh chillies or peppers may be roasted and used as well. The type I prefer however, uses only dried, rehydrated chillies. Since not all varieties of dried chillies are available everywhere, I recommend using your favorite. New Mexico and guaijillo chilies are good options. I love these long and mild dried chillies, that I use in most of my cooking. It’s the slightly crinkled type as opposed to those deep red shiny dried chillies. Harissa, made with these smells great too!

harissa paste Harissa | North African Spice Paste


Harissa | North African Spice Paste

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Recipe Name: Harissa | North African Spice Paste
Recipe Type: Condiments
Author: Shana c/o Recipes ‘R’ Simple
Prep time: 
Cook time:
Total time: 
Yield: (1 small jar / ¾ cup)

harissa ingredients Harissa | North African Spice Paste


  • 1 cup dried red chilies, seeded is you prefer and stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (you may use extra virgin olive oil too)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

harissa grind Harissa | North African Spice Paste


  • Add the dried chillies to a saucepan, covered with water and bring to a strong boil. Boil 2 minutes.
  • Remove saucepan from heat, cover and alloe to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the rehydrated chillies well and squeeze out extra water.
  • Add to a grinder blender jar, along with cumin, coriander, caraway, garlic, salt and olive oil.
  • Grind, scraping down the sides of the blender/grinder a few times. I like my paste extremely smooth.
  • Store in a small sterile glass jar and pour more olive oil over the top. This prevents spoilage. Each time you remove the top layer from the jar, it’s a good idea to pour oil over the top again.
  • Keep refrigerated. This is a small quantity (about 3/4 cup and will last 3 weeks).

Key Ingredients: Dried Chillies, Cumins seeds, Coriander seeds, Caraway seeds, Garlic, Lime, Olive oil, Salt.

Leave a comment if you tried – Harissa | North African Spice Paste .



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