I prefer to use mostly mild to medium chilies, and just one or two hot ones. Often I will add a smoked chili or two – like chipotles packed in adobo sauce for added depth, smokiness and layers of flavor. The more variety, the more dimensions to the paste.
Make sure to toast your spices to add layers of flavor. Traditionally, the three spices of harissa are cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.
But I encourage you to be playful. Listen to what draws you… and create your own version. Sometimes I’ll add cinnamon, smoked paprika or even a little clove, deepening on what I’m using it on. Often I’ll add fresh herbs…. like cilantro or parsley.
Bring dried chilies to a boil in a large pot of water. Turn heat off, cover and let soak for 1 hour or even overnight.
Drain and Remove the seeds and stems, rinsing under running water.
Grind your spices and place in a food processor. Add garlic, salt, chili peppers, olive oil and lemon juice. Then add the peppers.
This recipe makes a cup and a half.
Authentic Harissa Paste Recipe
Authentic Harissa Paste Recipe – a north African condiment that will add depth and smokey spice to meats, stews and roasted vegetable dishes. PLUS a 5 minute cheater version! See notes.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 1 ½ cups
- Category: Condiment
- Cuisine: North African
- Bring chilies to a boil in a large pot of water, turn heat off, cover, let sit 1 hour or overnight. Toast spices and grind them.When the chilies are soft and rehydrated, drain and remove seeds and stems ( you can rinse them under running water to get them cleaned up . Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency. If you like a “looser” style add more oil.
- To store, place in sealable jar and drizzle olive oil over top after each use, to preserve. It will last 1-2 months in the fridge.As long as it’s covered with a layer of oil , it should keep well.
The preserved lemon, is especially authentic and delicious if you can find it.
FOR a Quick harissa paste, simply mix the following together in a bowl. Not authentic, but a tasty quick option!