• Cooking Time:
  • Servings:
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes


Harissa, as the name suggests, is native in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. This hot, fiery blend of chilies and spices can be historically traced back as far as the 1400s, introduced to Europe and North Africa via Spain and Portugal. It is a condiment usually eaten with couscous but can be rubbed on salmon or mixed into meats such as lamb.

This harissa recipe is based on a recipe in A Mediterranean Feast by Clifford Wright (William Morrow, 1999).


  • 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • and seeded (about 2 oz.)
  • 8 dried new mexico chiles, stemmed
  • and seeded (about 1 1⁄2 oz.)
  • 3 - 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • or 1 tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
  • or 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • 1⁄4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • or 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried mint leaves
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil,
  • plus more as needed
  • 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Optional: Juice of 1 lemon


  • 1. Soak dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Drain and remove stems and seeds.
  • 3. Combine chili peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a food processor and blend.
  • Add remaining spices and blend to a smooth paste.
  • Refrigerate, topping off with more oil after each use. Harissa paste will keep for up to 3 weeks.

Author Credit: William Morrow

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