After tasting this homemade harissa, or Moroccan red pepper paste, one of our recipe testers said, “If this sauce is what Moroccan food is all about, then I’m all in.” Us, too.
Harissa is a Moroccan chile paste made with roasted chile peppers and spices and, quite frankly, there’s simply nothing else like it on the planet. Nor is there a substitute for homemade harissa, because once you try it, you’ll never go back to store-bought. You’ll just always keep a stash of it in your fridge so you can slather it on everything and anything whenever the craving arises. The trick is that there are as many ways to make this traditional North African condiment of chiles and garlic as there are home cooks. We quite like this way.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Use Homemade Harissa
“I’ve never had Moroccan food before,” typed one of our recipe testers after trying this harissa recipe. “But if this is what it’s all about, then I’m all in.” Us, too. If you’re new to harissa, or are simply seeking inspiration for how to use it, here are a few of our favorite things to do with the spicy Moroccan paste…although each day it seems we’re coming up with new ones. Care to let us know in a comment below what you choose to slather with harissa?
Spoon it over eggs
Stir it into yogurt for a quick dip for crudités or flatbread
Add it to soups
Use as a marinade for chunks of lamb or chicken cutlets before grilling
Blend a spoonful into a batch of hummus
Slip under the skin of chicken prior to roasting or smoking
Toss it in a stir-fry
Slather on falafel
Homemade Harissa Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 45 M
- A 1/2-pint jar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 5 fresh red chiles (such as serrano, Thai, red jalapeño, etc.), stemmed and seeded
- 5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, then drained (liquid reserved)
- 8 small garlic cloves, or less to taste
- A few sprigs or 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves only
- Juice of 1 small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- About 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for covering
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1. Toss the caraway, coriander, and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium to medium-low heat and toast until the spices start to release their fragrance, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the spices to a plate and let cool slightly.
- 2. Dump the cooled spices into a mortar and pestle and pound until coarsely ground.
- 3. Add the ground toasted spices, red chiles, guajillo chiles, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor and process until a thick paste forms. If necessary, add a little of the reserved guajillo soaking liquid to achieve the desired consistency.
- 4. Scrape the harissa into a sterilized 1/2-pint jar and slowly pour enough olive oil over the top of the harissa to completely cover the surface. Put the lid on the jar and stash the harissa in the refrigerator for up to 4 months, making sure after each use to always cover the surface of the harissa with a layer of olive oil.
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