Skip to content

Harissa – – earthy Tunisian condiment

Harissa hails from Tunisia. It is usually made with hot chilies, although you can use something more earthy as in this recipe. Traditionally it was an accompaniment for couscous but is delicious on roasted/grilled meats, fish, folded into soups or stews.


Jarred Harissa ready to go




10 dried guajillo peppers – – a good source for these if you cannot find them locally is Penzeys

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 large garlic clove (or two smaller)

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt


  1. Put the peppers into a metal or glass bowl.
  2. Add enough boiling water to cover them and let them soak for 45 minutes to an hour. A plate on top sometimes helps in keeping them submerged.
  3. Toast the cumin and caraway seeds in a skillet on low heat just until fragrant. Allow them to cool then place into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind finely.
  4. Drain the chilies and place them into a food processor or blender. Add the garlic and process until the mixture becomes as smooth as possible, scraping down the sides often. There will be some pieces of skin and of course the seeds in the mixture.
  5. Place the mixture in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and press through leaving behind any bits of pepper skin and the seeds.
  6. To the bowl, add the ground spices, orange juice and olive oil, whisking until smooth. Taste just a bit for seasoning and add salt until you reach the balance you prefer.

Jar and serve. (note, it is “staining” so a glass container is recommended)

Keep refrigerated but better to bring to room temperature before serving as a condiment.

This recipe can be used utilizing numerous types of chilies such as piquillos, or ancho chiles, etc. Create your own favorite heat/spice blend and offer Harissa to your guests!


Guajillo chilies soaking in boiling water

soaking with plateFinal

Placing a plate on top of the soaking chilies ensures they stay evenly submerged


Pressing the paste through a sieve


Whisking the final ingredients into the chili mixture




Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar