Homemade Harissa

In the past six months, harissa paste has replaced sriracha sauce in a lot of our cooking. Harissa is a chili pepper condiment popular in Moroccan cuisine, usually found in paste or sauce form. It has a deep, roasted flavor and packs some delicious heat–great to add directly to a dish as it’s cooking (we have a cauliflower-chickpea dish we love, as well as this harissa-roasted squash). Harissa also works well served alongside chicken tangine or pork tenderloin. After our last tube of harissa paste ran out, we realized how simple the ingredient list was andwith a quick Google search, we decided to make our own. It’s so easy! I used dried New Mexico chiles, but you can also substitute anaheim chiles, which are more mild.

Homemade Harissa

12-15 dried red chili peppers
3-4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
Olive oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the dried chili peppers and submerge in the hot water. Leave to let soften for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain the chili peppers, gently squeezing out the excess water, allowing their seeds to release, and blot the peppers between several paper towels. Using a mini food processor, grind the peppers, garlic, salt and other spices. Add lemon juice and enough olive oil to moisten the harissa enough to form a thick paste. Store the harissa in an airtight container in the fridge.

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  • Liz McAvoy

    I’m a huge fan of harissa, such a unique, smoky flavor that I love pairing with so many recipe variations — particularly with a simple fried egg and slices of avocado!

  • PerpetuallyChic

    Yes! We make a chickpea-beet hash topped with a fried egg once a week for a quick meal. Harissa really elevates the hash.

  • This hash sounds amazing! And I’m a big fan of harissa. There’s a wonderful middle eastern grocery near me in Chicago that makes its own harissa and it is my favorite hot sauce. I love that you can actually taste the flavor of the chilis, it isn’t all just heat and burn!