By • August 20, 2010 17 Comments

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Author Notes: I have been making this interpretation of harissa for years, and it's positively addicting. Not only is it fiery from chiles, it's sweet and smoky from roasted red peppers, and aromatic with toasted, freshly ground spices. It's extremely versatile and can be served as a condiment, garnish, marinade and dip. It's delicious with grilled meats, chicken and fish, mixed into rice and couscous, or served straight up with veggies for dipping or bread for mopping. - TasteFoodTasteFood

Food52 Review: I’ve bought little jars of harissa for years and while I’ve found ones I really like, now that I’ve made this recipe I don’t think I’ll ever buy harissa again. This is just delicious; the combination of the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds is perfect. I used a little chopper instead of mortar/pestle to grind up the spices once I had toasted them, and the flavors they contributed were great! And no big surprise, it gets better with time. I added mint to it at the end and used it as a marinade for some lamb and it was to die for! - ChezSuzanneThe Editors

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 red jalapeno or serrano chiles, stemmed, chopped with seeds (the more you add, the hotter the harissa)
  • 2 large or 3 medium red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or mint leaves (optional)
  1. Toast cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar with pestle. Grind seeds to a fine powder.
  2. Combine ground seeds, garlic, chiles, red peppers and 1 tablespoon olive oil in bowl of food processor. Process, adding additional olive oil if necessary, for a thick sauce-like consistency. Add ground pepper and salt.
  3. Let harissa sit at least one hour and up to 24 hours before serving. (Refrigerate until use.) Before serving stir in chopped cilantro and/or mint, if using.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Condiments

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Comments (17) Questions (1)


about 1 year ago eucalyptus

Just made this last night- absolutely delicious!


about 2 years ago Scribbles

Just finished making this and it already taste awesome! Can hardly wait to put it on the Summer Melon Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint.


about 2 years ago Jessica Mills

I had a hard time finding Harissa here in New Zealand. Spent over an hour driving around to different stores with no luck; will never do that again now that I have this recipe!!


almost 3 years ago Hilary G.

Authentic and perfect! The layer of oil on top is a don't-skip element for flavor and texture!


almost 3 years ago Hilary G.

Authentic and perfect! The layer of oil on top is a don't-skip element for flavor and texture!


over 3 years ago borntobeworn

I just made my first batch of this today :) I'm letting it sit for at least 24 hours but my "tastes" from the spatula were awesome!!!


over 3 years ago TasteFood

I'm glad you like it!


over 4 years ago Summer of Eggplant

I ran out of harissa recently and my spouse was insistent on having Moroccan food and I had no desire to make the drive to Williams-Sonoma, so I made this! Lovely. Not sure I will buy it again, thanks! The remainder is in the fridge looking forward to the next outing.


almost 5 years ago TasteFood

Thank you for the review Susan - I am so happy you liked it!


about 5 years ago lapadia

Thanks for sharing your recipe TasteFood!


about 5 years ago Oui, Chef

I could live on Harissa, but have never made it from scratch. Thanks for giving me the tools to do just that.


about 5 years ago Lizthechef

This is the kind of recipe on the site that separates the teachers from the students - happy to be your pupil ;)


about 5 years ago TasteFood

That would be mutual, Liz, thanks!


about 5 years ago WinnieAb

I love harissa and this looks amazing!


about 5 years ago TasteFood

Thanks, Winnie.


about 5 years ago TasteFood

Thanks, Cathy! It will be a perfect accompaniment to your merguez - which is on my must-make list!


about 5 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thank you so much for posting this. I make merguez (recipe on the site) and have experimented with many commercial harissas, and each time, wonder what it would take to make my own. I love the idea of caraway - never would have thought of that!