Cook's Hideout: Harissa (Chili Paste)

September 15, 2015

Harissa (Chili Paste)

Buffet on Table: Week 3 -- Condiments from Countries
Day 13: North Africa -- Harissa
Today I have a simple and most useful all-purpose chili paste from North Africa. It is great to serve as a condiment for grilled foods and elevates the taste of braised dishes. This condiment is made with only dried red chilies, garlic, olive oil and a tiny bit of cumin.
North African Chili Paste
Even though it is made with red chilies, it does not have to be really fiery hot and spicy, you can use mild tasting chilies too. Experiment with different chilies to find your tolerance level.

North African Chili Paste
I used to buy harissa and it was my husband's favorite condiment of all times. He would put it on just about everything. This is my first attempt at making it at home and I made only a few tablespoons of it. He wasn't too thrilled that the whole batch got over in no time. I have to make some more for him soon.
North African Chili Paste
Good thing is it can be stored in the fridge for at least a week or two. It might lose a bit of intensity over time when refrigerated, but this is not necessarily a bad thing; you can just call it mellowing of the chilies :-)

Dry Red Chilies - 6~12
Garlic - 4 cloves, peeled
Extra virgin oil -
Ground Cumin - 1tsp
Salt - to taste

  • Soak the chilies in hot water for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Remove the stems and the seeds. Keep the seeds if you don't feel like taking them out.
  • Put them in a food processor with the garlic, olive oil and cumin.
  • Blend until the mixture forms a coarse paste, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  • Taste and season with salt. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
North African Chili Paste

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56.



  1. Looks awesome pavani, mine turned out so different..:)

  2. That is so flavorful and yet simple

  3. Even I made harissa. I added some lime juice to it. Beautiful pictures

  4. Looks gorgeous, I love this condiment, its only that I have banned red chillies from my diet:(...but for sure the day the doc allows me to eat ,this is one condiment I would love to eat first.looks delicious!

  5. great condiment. super hot and spicy and flavorful

  6. Awesome presentation, Pavani. Looks very tempting..

  7. I love this sauce, infact I mixed it with ketchup lol..:)

  8. Wow..Beautiful picture..Well made

  9. Look amazing and very spicy sauce.

  10. It look's like many of us have made this paste. Good one.

  11. Hot and fiery chilli paste looks alluring, too fabulous..

  12. A fiery one. This looks like my husband's kind of sauce.

  13. Looks yum Pavani. Its the kind that will be in my curry because I want to escape.

  14. I use a bit more spices in my version and ever since I make at home never buy anymore - your version looks just as good


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