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North African Spicy Chili Paste (Harissa)

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Member since 2014

Serves | Prep Time 10 minutes | Cook Time


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.


Pairs Well With


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).

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