Basic Homemade Harissa Recipe

Nov 27, 2012 6:01 pm

The simple process behind hot Moroccan chili sauce

Harissa is the classic Moroccan chili sauce. I make it in small amounts because you need only a little at a time, but you can double the quantities if you think you’ll use it within four months. Some are made with roasted peppers and tomatoes, but I like a pure chile flavor. There are even versions with dried rose petals, but I honestly can’t detect them, they have too many chiles to fight with.

easy harissa recipe
Photo: Laura Edwards
It may not be Frank's Red Hot, but this easy harissa recipe packs way more of a flavorful punch.
Servings: 1 (1/2 pint) jar


2 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, undefined
2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
5 fresh red chilies, halved and seeded
5 dried guajillo chilies, soaked in warm water, drained and seeded (reserve the liquid)
8 garlic cloves
leaves from a small bunch of cilantro
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for storing
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. Toast the caraway, coriander and cumin seeds in a dry saucepan. Heat them for three to four minutes, until they start to release their fragrance. Pound in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Put the spices with all the other ingredients into a food processor and puree. You should get a thick, but not solid, paste. Add a little of the chile soaking liquid to help you get the right texture.
  3. Put into a small sterilized jar and pour a film of oil on top. Store in the refrigerator — make sure it is always covered by a layer of oil — and use within four months.

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Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
30 minutes
Cooking Time: 
5 minutes
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